Scent Of Green Papaya

Scent Of Green Papaya

4.5 2
Director: Tran Anh Hung

Cast: Tran Anh Hung, Tran Nu Yên-Khê, Lu Man San, Truong Thi Loc

     
 

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The interior life of a Vietnamese household in the 1950s, as seen through the eyes of a young servant girl, is explored in Tran Anh Hung's placid, but visually intoxicating tone poem, L'Odeur de la Papaye Verte. The film begins in 1951, when the beautiful and inquisitive 10-year-old peasant girl Mui (Lu Man San) is hired to work at the home of an affluentSee more details below

Overview

The interior life of a Vietnamese household in the 1950s, as seen through the eyes of a young servant girl, is explored in Tran Anh Hung's placid, but visually intoxicating tone poem, L'Odeur de la Papaye Verte. The film begins in 1951, when the beautiful and inquisitive 10-year-old peasant girl Mui (Lu Man San) is hired to work at the home of an affluent Saigon family. When the father absconds with the family's money, the tireless mother (Truong Thi Loc) is forced to support the family through the slim profits of her tiny fabric store. As the family struggles to make ends meet, Mui becomes attracted to a friend of the family, Khuyen (Vuong Hoa Hoi). The film then shifts to 1961, when the family is in desperate straits. The father has died, and Mui (Tran Nu Yen-Khe), now twenty years old, finds herself working in Khuyen's home. Khuyun has grown into an attractive, sophisticated French-speaking pianist, with his own expensive mistress. Mui serves him as she has served the family -- with perfection and silence. She also loves Khuyen is silence, and gradually Khuyen begins to take notice of Mui's love for him.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Todd Kristel
This is not a movie that you watch for action-packed scenes, scenery-chewing performances, witty dialogue, or convoluted plot twists. Instead, this is a slow-paced film that emphasizes the rhythms, textures, and quiet beauty of daily life. The film is based primarily on appreciating small moments such as juice flowing from a papaya or a lizard climbing out of a vase; the camera lingers to savor these images, then moves deeper into the frame to find further levels of visual detail, just as a child might slowly explore the surrounding world. Meanwhile, the soundtrack reinforces the serene mood through music, which is performed on traditional Vietnamese instruments and piano, and natural sounds such as crickets and rain. The issues raised by the film, such as the effect of French colonialism on Vietnamese culture, are addressed in a relatively understated manner (with a few exceptions, such as the symbolism of a scene in which someone drips hot wax onto a group of worker ants). The Scent of Green Papaya seems to express a yearning for a simpler time when people, particularly women, accepted traditional social roles; some viewers may be put off by this apparent attitude, particularly since the film doesn't compensate for it with in-depth characterization. Also, some viewers are likely to find the film dull because of the languid pace and minimal plot. However, the movie is gorgeous enough to merit viewing if you're in a patient mood and willing to tolerate the film's limitations.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
The Scent of Green Papaya...is first of all a film of great visual beauty; watching it is like seeing a poem for the eyes...what is astonishing is that this entire film was made in Paris, on a sound stage...so convincing that at first we think we are occupying a small, secluded corner of a real city.... It is a placid, interior, contemplative film - not plot-driven, but centered on the growth of the young woman. As such, you might think it would seem "slower" on later viewings, but I found that the opposite was true.... This is a film to cherish.
San Francisco Chronicle
The Scent of Green Papaya is a lovely experience in the dreamily exotic.... His sets capture the exotic textures of the exquisite architectural beauty of the period...Peter Stack

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/26/2011
UPC:
0738329074425
Original Release:
1993
Source:
Lorber Films (Kino)
Time:
1:44:00
Sales rank:
43,556

Special Features

Behind-the-scenes featurette; Theatrical trailer; Stills gallery

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