My Cinema Paradiso


For what’s it worth, at least you can make use of its nostalgic theme music. Boy coming of age. Coming back to his village. to find its town Cinema, now destroyed for a parking lot.

Same thing is happening downtown Saigon. With the demolition of old buildings for new, memory lane for metro lane.

Prominently displayed in my sister’s living room in Virginia is a B/W picture of her, then young mother, holding hands with her four kids, all laughing and smiling on the side walk of Saigon, where the Tax center is about to come down.

Time has changed and people have moved on.

The old making place for the new.

E-commerce replacing Traditional one.

Convenient stores replacing “inconvenient” ones (where you bargain for a deal).

We are living in a time that even its best comic (Robin Williams) found himself unfit.

His exit says a lot.

Of course, he did not want to make any statement that was so costly about our society.

But. was there any smoke? Stigma against depression and disconnectedness (see Huffington Post piece). 

We anticipate and rush into the future. As if the unseen is  always better than the seen, the virtual better than the real. 

Then we turn around, take stock and find ourselves wanting.

The old neighborhood is a shambles. New comers don’t give a damn. Just loot it.

Flatten it. Make it a parking lot, a bike lot, an empty lot. No more neighborhood cinema (Cao Thang).

No more growing up with memory, history or identity. Feel the ache and feel the pain. Of finding not the things you were once familiar with. Was it here, or over there? Google Map couldn’t even help. Lucy found herself in Times Square.

Of the 21st century then, of the 20th century. But, for us, time moves from left to right in an ever eternal present. No regress and no rest for the weary.

My Cinema Paradiso.

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