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|The Vertical Ray of the Sun
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In this critically acclaimed Vietnamese drama from 2000, three sisters living in modern-day Hanoi – Lien (trān nū yēn khē, Cyclo), Suong (nguyēn nhū quȳnh, The Chinese Botanist’s Daughters) and Khanh (lēkhanh) – prepare a banquet for the anniversary of their mother’s death. Upon the ending of the banquet, the three sisters’ personal lives go through different stages of distress, dealing with strife in their personal relationships and the revelation of a mysterious man who lingered throughout their mother’s life. Directed by trān anh hūng (The Scent of Green Papaya), THE VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN is a beautifully shot film that transports you into another world.
The lush, super-chic ambience of Tran Anh Hung's third feature, The Vertical Ray of the Sun, presents a beckoning, irresistible vision of Vietnam. The film opens with a sexy brother and sister waking up to the sound of Lou Reed's laconic voice on the stereo. They stretch, practice tai chi, meander toward a late breakfast, and playfully flirt with each other. This morning ritual--slightly disturbing but mostly alluring--recurs as a quietly resistant motif to the disappointment that awaits each character introduced. Shot on location in an impossibly hued Hanoi (lime green and chartreuse abound), the film trails after three beautiful sisters during the month that separates the anniversaries of the deaths of their mother and father. Attempting to protect the ideal memory of their parents' recently assailed love, the sisters recount kindnesses and joke with each other just as the serene charm of the café they run is to be overturned by an unexpected pregnancy and marital infidelities. Tran's lustrous style of collage is unique, pulling the viewer's attention away from imminent conflict and revelation to completely tactile and isolated moments. As with the titular subject of Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes," the sensual tension lingers on. --Fionn Meade
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Johnny Nguyen (The Protector) stars as an elite double agent tasked with taking down his own country s freedom fighters. But when he meets a beautiful rebel (pop star Thanh Van Ngo), he rethinks his loyalty to the oppressive French regime and fights back against his sadistic captain (Dustin Nguyen, 21 Jump Street).
A fast-paced, beautifully executed film, The Rebel works hard at being an epic martial arts picture set in 1920's French-occupied Vietnam. While that may sound like a bit much, director Truc Charlie Nguyen does a formidable job creating a plausible scenario with some awesome fighting sequences. While not quite epic, the film is spot on as an action thriller. Johnny Tri Nguyen--who was a stunt double in the Spider-Man movies and impressed fans with his performance in The Protector--stars as Le Van Cuong, a deadly double agent who battles both the French and his evil, power hungry boss Sy, played by Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street), who we're accustomed to seeing in sympathetic roles. Sy is one of those cinematic creations who is seemingly indestructible. No matter what is thrown at him, he gets right back up to cause more havoc and Dustin Nguyen is up to the task of playing the sadistic part. Ranked as the biggest Vietnamese film when it was released theatrically in 2006, The Rebel delivers meticulous choreographed fight scenes that show off the martial arts skills of the Nguyens (not related), as well as their female lead Veronica Ngo. Like Oxide and Danny Pang's breakthrough 1999 motion picture Bangkok Dangerous, which helped put Thai films on the cinematic map, The Rebel is helping to put the spotlight on Vietnamese films. This DVD includes the original Vietnamese version (with English subtitles) as well as an English version (the bilingual lead actors dubbed their own voices). --Jae-Ha Kim
|Buffalo Boy (Amazon.com Exclusive)
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Brand: First RUN Features
Buffalo Boy (Amazon.com Exclusive)
Set in the lowlands of southern Vietnam, this powerful coming of age tale is a richly textured and stunningly visual reflection of the rhythms of daily life and culture determined by water. The flooded landscape serves to tell the story of the relationship between a father and son, the cycles of life, and the inescapable flow of all things. When young Kim, out of necessity, joins the nomadic life of the buffalo herders he is exposed to a complex, brutal way of existence. He must find his own way and sense of self in this male world of endurance, betrayal, and uncertainty, which can also offer friendship and independence.
Minh Nguyen-Vo presents this mythic tale with indelible images of the majestic and sacred buffalos charging through flood waters contrasted with the solitary rower gliding through the waters, each representing opposite phases of the spiritual and moving journey.
"This beautiful film offers a rare, poetic glimpse of life in rural Vietnam."
"Luscious, hypnotic rhythm." -Boston Pheonix
Buffalo Boy is an official selection of the prestigious, award-winning Global Lens Collection presented by the Global Film Initiative. In Vietnamese with English subtitles.
When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
|The Scent of Green Papaya
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From the Director of The Vertical Ray of the Sun. A story of beauty, passion, and forbidden fruit. A love story of exquisite beauty and originality, THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is the Cannes favorite that won the coveted Camera d'Or and was nominated for the Academy Award(r) for Best Foreign Language Film of 1993. Set in Vietnam in the 1950s and '60s, it is the story of a shy peasant girl who goes toSaigon at the age of ten as a household servant. Beneath the calm exteriors of the lovely home where she works is an undercurrent of lost love and marital discord. Attuned to the people around her and enchanted by nature, Mui grows into a beautiful young woman who inspires her upperclass lover to break with convention. A visual feast as well as an emotional triumph, THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is an unforgettable film experience.
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In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, a young cyclo (pedicab driver) transports anonymous passengers through the teeming streets, trying to eke out a meager living for his two sisters and elderly grandfather. When his bicycle is stolen by a local gang, he descends into the gruesome underbelly of this corrupt and violent city. Seduced by easy money, the Cyclo is swept deeper into the crime ring lead by the quietly charismatic Poet (Tony Leung of CHUNGKING EXPRESS and BULLET IN THE HEAD).
Unbeknown to the Cyclo, his older sister (the exquisite star of THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA) has also been mesmerized by the brooding Poet and turns to prostitution to please him. Director Tran Anh Hung, whose brilliant debut THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA established him as a master visualist, fuses the neorealist style of THE BICYCLE THIEF with the kinetic energy of TAXI DRIVER in this gritty tale of innocence lost in the urban jungle of Vietnam.
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