The last time I soaked up the projected humid climes of Vietnamese cinema was with the sumptuous The Rebel in 2007. That film’s female lead, Veronica Ngo (Ngô Thanh Vân) is the sole lead for Furie — wearing a very similar outfit — and it’s great to see her in action stride again. Vietnam kept producing films in the intervening years, but they were not widely distributed. Once Upon a Time in Vietnam — also featuring Ngo — is the … (read more)
The Rebel is a fascinating viewing experience. The occasional Vietnamese film has made a name outside its homeland — we even have a few reviewed here on HC — but mostly we see the country through the filmic lens of western Vietnam war films. So it’s always interesting when a homegrown production comes along to lend its own voice to the conversation. When it’s as well-made as this film, it’s a pleasure to watch as well.
The Rebel goes back … (read more)
Vertical Ray of the Sun is indeed like its namesake, akin to a shaft of the morning sun [for me anyway], delicate, fresh and inspiring.
Many such allegories can be made about the characters and feel of Tran Anh Hung’s films [Scent of a Green Papaya, Cyclo]. One tends to use these superlatives to describe all his films because it’s the strongest element in all his films and the one that leaves the deepest impression.
The lush … (read more)
Sandy Lives is this year’s Vietnamese entry into the festival but also similar in feeling to Land of Wandering Souls, the Cambodian doco from last year. If you’ve seen either, you will know what I mean.
Sparse, tragic and poetic — both detail the struggles of everyday people under adverse circumstances, although Sandy Lives concerns more of the aftermath where a struggle of a different kind continues for Canh, a communist cadre. He is returning to his village after … (read more)