Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House (Photo: somersethouse.org.uk)
Khanh: What? Look at it! Is it the room of Harry Potter?
Sanny: It’s so small right?
Khanh: Yeah, it’s very surprising actually. I can’t imagine that a world famous wizard has that small bed room.
Sanny: I know I think our bedrooms are definitely bigger than that.
Khanh: Yes, and more fabulous you know!
Sanny: Of course.
Khanh: Well, once again, Sanny, the tea is awesome.
Sanny: Isn’t it good?
Khanh: Yesh! And it’s very sweet of you to inviting me to your house. You treated me to so many good food, good cookies and now we’re watching Harry Potter.
Sanny: I couldn’t believe it when you told me you’d never seen it before.
Khanh: You’re so surprised, right?
Sanny: I was shocked.
Khanh: I believe I’m just one of a very few people who haven’t watched Harry Potter before. Actually, Harry Potter is not something that I’m not familiar with because actually in Vietnam, there’re so many people who love Harry Potter and they form fan clubs all over the country. They’re all crazy about Harry Potter I’m so sure.
Sanny: I even went to a Harry Potter café yesterday in Hanoi.
Khanh: What do you think?
Sanny: It was really really good it was very beautifully decorated, you make England proud guys.
Khanh: What did you see there, at the cafe?
Sanny: So there were loads of decorations and paintings on the wall and it had drinks named after spells and potions. The Polyjuice potion tasted amazing.
Khanh: That’s great. I’m sure that the shop owner would be very happy if he heard what you just said. And Harry Potter is an icon of British films, right?
Sanny: I would definitely say so especially because he started in the books, the books are just incredible to us, some people even read them at school like they study them. It kind of grows with us, when they were coming out in the cinema we went mental over it, crazy.
Khanh: I believe that in Britain, there’s nobody who doesn’t know Harry Potter.
Sanny: Oh everyone knows, the second I meet new people and make new friends, the first thing I ask them is “what Hogwarts house?” .
Khanh: Can you tell me a little bit about Hogwarts house?
Sanny: Of course, so Hogwarts is the school that they go to and there are four houses; Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. And each witch or wizard gets put into one of these houses and it kind of determines their school schedule and competitions for the year. But they are a little bit mean with the way they split these houses up.
Khanh: What’s the meaning of each house? For example, which house do you belong to?
Sanny: See this is why I think they’re mean because I belong in Slytherin, which is the best house it’s the best house for sure but everyone thinks that people in Slytherin are evil which we’re not. Some of the characters that come from Slytherin are really good people its just the modern Slytherins aren’t that.
Khanh: So I see that Harry Potter is not just a character, not just a film. It’s become a British culture and something that you guys meet other people and start a conversation.
Sanny: Oh yeah of course there are so many London meet-ups based around Harry Potter. We have a comiccon in London that isn’t as big as the one in America of course but people go as characters, and there are so many different locations in London that are in the film.
Khanh: What are some of Britons’ favourite film genres?
A social meet-up based around Harry Potter (blog.universalorlando.com)
Sanny: So we do like our detective shows I would say, we’ve got Sherlock which is a huge show all over the world but it’s set in England. So it started with the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, these incredible detective books, but since then we’ve had films but the best is BBC’s Sherlock, modern day Sherlock in modern day London and they reference so much of London as they go, they talk about buses and underground stops and you can even visit his house at 221B Baker Street.
Khanh: Oh, so not just a character acting in films that make British people love about that film because it steps out in real life. Besides detective, what other genres do people in Britain love to watch?
Sanny: We do like our romantic comedies. We really do, so we’re good with big romantic films like Bridgit Jones Diary for one, and Love Actually, they’re two massive films that we enjoy and they all have characters who are English. Obviously Bridgit Jones Diary has an American actress as the main girl but she puts on a British accent and it’s all very…very British basically!
Khanh: Do you guys have a specific film genre that British people often watch on special occasions? Like in America, people often watch Home Alone every Christmas.
Sanny: Yeah that’s they’re humour they’re in to. We do like it as well, Americas come up with some pretty good films but nothing can beat Love Actually, Love Actually is our ultimate Christmas film because there are several actress’ and actors all over England, some from other places in the world as well, but its kind of like a tradition for us to watch it. We have two rules in England when it comes to Christmas, one is that Christmas doesn’t start until the coca cola advert comes out because we have the big coca cola truck always coming down our streets and they give us free drinks which is really fun, and the second is that rule doesn’t apply if it is less than 5 weeks to Christmas. The Love Actually kind of scene starts 5 weeks in advance so as soon as we get to 5 weeks before the 25th of December then we can start celebrating.
Love Actually, one of Britons' favorite films (Photo: christmasfm.com)
Khanh: I see. Love Actually is a kind of romantic film and it suits young people and adults. How about children?
Sanny: Children do have their own kind of TV shows but none of them are really set with a big London background apart from Doctor Who I would say. Doctor Who can be scary though, I remember when I first watched it I was so scared I hid behind my sofa literally in my living room but it is for all the family it’s got good morals and most of it even though is set in a galaxy far away, a lot of its set in London too.
Khanh: Yeah. Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock are really big in Britain, right? What do those films speak about the British Culture?
Sanny: I think they just make it really enthusiastic. They really emphasize England because at the start of Sherlock, England is in the title and its kind of grey but all you can see are big red buses. The thing with British culture is that we love it so much because it’s different to everything else because we’re the only ones that really understand it. Like if we see a police box we think of Doctor Who, we think of a TARDIS, polices boxes are very, well they were normal things in the 60s. Or when we see a certain coat or a certain hat we think of Sherlock and when we see anything that looks remotely magic we think of Hogwarts.
Khanh: I see. What do you think about some characters in British films that differ from other films of other countries?
Sanny: I think we hace certain characters and we do have certain actors as well so our films kind of follow a same pattern, like with Bridget Jones we have Mr Darcy who’s this heroic ultimate British man that we’re meant to fall head over heels in love with, but the actors themselves is what makes it British humour. I remember showing my friend Love Actually for the first time and he couldn’t stop laughing at something that wasn’t funny and I asked him what was wrong and he said “I can’t believe Hugh Grant is president” because to us that’s just so funny to see someone who’s kind of a bit of a player I guess in some of his roles and he is now ruling our country.
Khanh: So you just talked about humor in British films that make the film itself stands out!
Sanny: Yeah its so good and so different because its true, like we’re laughing but we’re laughing with a bit of an emotional twang like it hurts, we can feel it.
Old-fashioned homemade English crumpets for tea time. (Photo: food.com)
Khanh: Okay, I have a whole day, what to do Sanny?
Sanny: We’ve got a lot to watch we should get some food
Khanh: Great! Some British ones?
Sanny: Absolutely. So sometimes when I feel like watching a film and staying in, it is very British you have to be prepared, I go down and I grab some crumpets. They’re so nice they’re a breakfast dish, it’s not quite a pancake and not quite toast but you can have it with butter or honey or even chocolate.
Khanh: Wow, my mouth is watering right now.
Sanny: So hungry!
Khanh: Let’s go grab some!