A “cyclo” is a bicycle-drawn taxi similar to a rickshaw, and, in this story, the nickname of an 18-year-old boy trying to scrape together a living in the desperate poverty of Ho Chi Mihn City. Cyclo lives with his grandfather (Le Kinh Huy) and two sisters (Tran Nu Yen-Khe and Pham Ngoc Lieu), and drives his taxi for a bitter woman (Nhu Quynh Nguyen) who devotes most of her time to her mentally unstable son (Bjuhoang Huy). When the pedal-cab is stolen, Cyclo is forced into a life of crime to repay the debt and falls in with a group of petty thugs led by a self-styled poet (Tony Leung Chiu Wai). What Cyclo doesn’t know at first is that the poet is also a pimp, and he’s been using his romantic wiles to lure Cyclo’s older sister into a career as a prostitute. Cyclo was directed by Tran Anh Hung, whose breakthrough film was the acclaimed drama The Scent of Green Papaya.
— Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
The film was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film and the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award at the 52nd Venice International Film Festival in 1995
Language(s):Vietnamese / Italian (2nd audio track)