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Vietnam

Linh Viet – Ganh xiec rong AKA The Travelling Circus (1988)

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One of the most acclaimed Vietnamese films of the 1980s, The Traveling Circus won numerous international awards, including Grand Prix at Fribourg Third world Film Festival, Audience Award at Uppsala (Sweden) International Film Festival and First Prize at Madrid Women’s Film Festival. With obvious influences from Bergman, DeSica and Fellini, director Viet Linh tells the bittersweet story of a small traveling circus from Hanoi stopping in an impoverished ethnic minority village in Vietnam’s central highlands. Through the eyes of a village youngster, we witness the magic of the circus, and the naïve hope that illusion can be transformed into reality. The Traveling Circus is an extremely realistic, sensitive and moving film, that is rarely shown either in Vietnam or abroad. Read More »

Nhat Minh Dang – Thuong nho dong que aka Nostalgia for the Countryside (1995)

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Powerful and poetic, Nostalgia for the Countryside explores the tensions and traumas of everyday life in a rural Vietnamese village. The arrival from abroad of Quyen, who fled the village as a small girl, coincides with the sexual awakening of 17-year-old Nham, through whose eyes the story unfolds. While picturesque on the surface, the countryside that Quyen dreamed about turns out to be a landscape of poverty, passion and tragedy – though not without pockets of warmth and humor. Read More »

Anh Hung Tran – Mùi du du xanh aka L’odeur de la papaye verte aka The Scent of Green Papaya (1993) (HD)

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Quote:

Tran Anh Hung’s film is beautiful. Its colors are still, hushed, and
translucent. Limpid greens and abundant yellows, deep blues, the pearly
whiteness found inside papayas. The film’s tones and textures seem to slow
the storyline, drenching it with a kind of denseness, a sense of ongoing
history.

Set in Saigon during the 1950s and early ’60s, _The Scent of Green
Papaya_ is necessarily conflicted beneath this calm surface. Before the
American War, Vietnam was not divided into North and South, but its class
and political systems were already in trouble. Read More »

Anh Hung Tran – Xich lo AKA Cyclo (1995)

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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 Read More »

Nhat Minh Dang – Bao gio cho den thang muoi AKA The Love Doesn’t Come Back (1984)

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‘When the Tenth Month Comes’ (‘Bao gio cho den thang muoi’) Vietnam
(Dang Nhat Minh, 1984)
A vivid portrayal from the point of view of a young Vietnamese widow of the legacy of the Vietnam war. It was released internationally under the name “The Love Doesn’t Come Back.”
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Anh Hung Tran – Mua he chieu thang dung AKA The Vertical Ray of the Sun [+Extras] (2000)

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Quote:
The Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung’s first two features, ”The Scent of Green Papaya” and ”Cyclo,” were partly inspired by the lives of his parents. The first, shot entirely on a soundstage in France, conjured an elusive dream of Saigon in the twilight of French colonial rule. The second, filmed in present-day Ho Chi Minh City, was a brutal, surreal nightmare of third-world urban life.

In his new film, ”The Vertical Ray of the Sun,” Mr. Hung moves north to Hanoi — a city whose pace of life seems languourous and stately — and examines, with Chekhovian decorum, the lives of three sisters whose parents have recently died. The film is an oblique, vaguely sorrowful study in domestic emotion, structured around the small eruptions of feeling — tenderness, anger, and joy — that punctuate the slow serenity of daily life.

Mr. Hung, working with the cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bin, who shot Wong Kar-wai’s gorgeous ”In the Mood for Love,” composes scenes of such delicate beauty that you almost want to climb into the frame. The dark greens and pale yellows of the city’s foliage and its sunlight have an almost tactile density, and when the scene periodically shifts to the countryside, the sudden widening of perspective and the altered quality of light produce a kind of awe. Read More »