The most recent film from Tran Anh Hung, writer/director of The Scent of Green Papaya, continues his restrained, low-key examination of human interaction.
In some ways, providing a synopsis for movies like this is to do them a disservice. This is not meant to imply that there is no story. There is: three sisters prepare a feast to mark the anniversary of their parents’ death, and we explore their relationships with each other and with the men in their lives. But above an… beyond this quiet tale is the film’s real interest: the beauty and sensuality inherent in even the most mundane acts. This film features some of the most extended and memorable scenes of waking up ever committed to film.
The is a deeply sensuous film, and has a deeply sensuous soundtrack. The sound is restrained but enveloping, making good use of the surround effects. The music, of course, is present in both front and rear speakers, but the sound effects have a definite presence as well, and the attention to detail here, as it is everywhere else, is exquisite. When rain falls, it falls all around you.
No matter how good the sound is, it would not be enough to save the film if the visuals weren’t given a good treatment. Fortunately, they are. The transfer is flawless. There is no grain or pixellation to detract from the sumptuous colours (dominated by a beyond-lush green). The picture preserves the 1.85:1 widscreen format.
The menu is still and silent, and the only extras are very limited. There are trailers for The Scent of Green Papaya, The Vertical Ray of the Sun, The Road Home and Shower, and there are filmographies for Tran Anh Hung and lead actress Tran Nu Yen Khe.
Remember the admonition in American Beauty to find beauty everywhere? Here you can see that philosophy put into beautiful practice.
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