You might think Vietnamese actors would be dying to move to Germany to expand their careers but for Lâm Vissay, it's the other way around. Although he is known in Germany for the movies he starred in - “Soko Leipzig”, “Unter Dir Die Stadt”, which was nominated at Cannes Festival 2010 - Lâm decided to listen to the call of his mother's land to come to Vietnam after an invitation from Vietnamese director Do Thanh Hai. Things have been not easy, we all can relate, but he's got lots of recognition. Today, Lâm will share with us his own stories about life, career and some advice for those who are looking for coming to Vietnam for work!
Hi Lâm, we have seen you in popular movies, TV dramas and MVs, and finally today we have got the chance to have you share your stories about Vietnam. Firstly, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? And also, what's your reason to accept Do Thanh Hai's invitation to come here even though your career in Germany was great?
Well, the very first reason was the chance to work abroad and in my mother country. I liked the challenges that came with the role and I wanted to collect experiences working with a Vietnamese film team and explicit with anh Do Thanh Hai.
After more than 3 decades living in Germany, how was it to be back to Asia?
In the beginning I was travelling back and forth for work but still my main resident was Cologne in Germany. But about 6 years ago I decided to move completely to Vietnam calling Hanoi my hometown. That explains my northern Vietnamese accent. But since a year I live now in Saigon and I am pretty happy with it. Of course things are going different here in Vietnam and I miss my family, friends and German food but I am pretty busy with the upcoming projects, so it wasn’t hard to adapt to Vietnamese lifestyle as the country is known for being “cosmopolitan”.
If possible, can you name us some things that you find awesome in Vietnam?
Sure. The food, the many beautiful landscapes in Moc Chau, Ba Vi, Da Lat and natural wonders with the biggest caves of the world or the mountains in Ha Giang which I loved and had the chance to travel by bike, the many beaches, the different cities, tribes and cultures that coexists peacefully aside each other whenever you arrive to another region, the music scenery specially to name Trinh Cong Son who’s considered as the “Vietnamese Shakespeare” - his songs I would like to tackle in an album because this year I am more focused on making more music than films - and so much more…
About food, what’s your favorite?
My favorite Vietnamse food that would be too many to name, starting from Bún Cá, Thịt kho ba chỉ to Hủ tiếu and bánh canh nam phổ Huế. But I must admit I miss some German food so I decided to open a German food venue where we serve German food and Beer. I had already got some experiences as the owner of the German Imbiss in Hanoi. So I looked for a place here and I found already the right location for it where we start in April. It is called “Quán Ô Lâm” (Mr Lam’s restaurant). Aside serving German food and beer I will host there some music concerts and invite local and foreign artists to support the singer-songwriter scene. I am a bit scared of the amount of work that is ahead. Fingers crossed that everything works out well.
You had lived 5 years in Hanoi before moving to Saigon. Can you tell us some big differences between the two biggest cities?
The weather (laughing). No honestly, here in Saigon are just 2 seasons, it is whether raining or dry but it is always warm or hot. Hanoi recently became very polluted, you can see the smog already when you land with a plane. I love to run reguarly outdoors so I appreciate the better air here. People here are more forgiving, in Hanoi they tell straight in your face that your pronunciation is quite bad (hahahaha) - I must admit I still have an accent when I speak Vietnamese -, the music scene there’s a big difference. Here in Saigon is more about covering popular music whereas in Hanoi original songs and bands are more favored. It’s changing and I am looking forward to be a part of it.
Do you have any advice for people who are also looking for a chance to come to Vietnam for work?
Just come and see yourself. Travel the country, meet the people, try the food and see yourself if that is something for you. If you can bring in yourself and share your experience, contribute to society, be able to adapt to another countries cultural differences, humbled and equal not from the perspective of a superior higher position where both sides benefits then just do it man. Don’t come just to do time, but see it as a chance to contribute with your expertise and the bonus is to have a meaningful job. And for all the ones who wants to teach here - I say this in the name of all “real” teachers out there - please bring a sufficient teaching degree before you start to teach English (laughs out loud).
We have learnt that you'll soon be an acting professor, but will we still see you frequently as an actor?
hahaha, I am that old? That is right, I have 20 years of acting experience but I am still young so I hope out there are still interesting roles that I can fill. I started directing my first short films and I am writing on scripts for different projects. At the moment you can see me on tv in the tv series “Thương nhớ ở ai”, I play a war hero who returns to his village just to find out that women who lost their husbands are oppressed. His goal from then on is to defend the women’s rights, actually a very current topic with the metoo movement.
In 2 weeks I am about to start shooting a new film. Let’s see how that goes.
I am looking forward to my food venue and to organize some live concerts.
Thanks a lot for spending time with us, Lâm. We wish you all the best of luck with the upcoming projects!
Thank you for your time. It was my pleasure.
Lâm Vissay is a German actor and singer-songwriter with Vietnamese-Laotian roots. After countless film and theater productions in Germany and Vietnam he calls Saigon his hometown where he is currently recording his first Album: “Quên luôn hết đi”.
His musical influences are Damien Rice, David Bowie and Al Jarreau.
“I like to take the audience through a musical journey with my songs and share with them the story behind. If everyone goes home with the feeling that they had a nice entertaining night and heard some soulful songs that inspires them, I am more than happy.”
Music Genre: Indie, Folk, Alternative, Rock-Pop, Jazz
Follow Lâm Vissay here:
► YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/lamvissay
► Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vissay
► Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vissayL
► Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/vissay
► Website: www.vissay.com