The Scent of Green Papaya (Mùi du du xanh) [1993]

Director : Anh Dung Tran

Writer : Anh Dung Tran

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

Story : The movie follows the life of little Mui in Saigon. At 10 years old she becomes a servant to a rich family with a tumultuous past and present : the grandmother lives a solitary life in her room since her husband had died, the mother lost her child who would be the same age as Mui, and her two small boys enjoy tormenting the wildlife or Mui, and the husband disappears with the family’s money for long time spending it on gambling and prostitutes. She is welcomed in the family by Thi, the old servant and is taught the chores of the house. Then the film cuts forward, Mui has grown into a beautiful young women, and because of money problems she is sent to work in another house.

What I Liked :

– the way Mui discovers her femininity in the second part of the movie, it’s extremely erotic at points without showing anything sexual, some scenes just oozes erotism, sensualism

– the focus on the nature, the movies is full of scenes focusing only on the nature, or how Mui interacts with it

– Mui’s curiosity and acceptance, she looks at everything with huge eyes, she wants to know, to understand things, but anything she sees or anything happens, good or bad, she accepts it without uttering a word

– the movie has a poetic feel to it, there are some stunning scenes that will get stuck in your memory

– beautiful soundtracks (Chopin, Debussy)

What I Didn’t Like :

– slow-paced movie, so it depends what you like, but it can be a turn-off for many.

Final Note :

3 out of 4

Interesting Facts :

– this is the first Vietnamese movie to be nominated for Oscar

Trailer :

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2 thoughts on “The Scent of Green Papaya (Mùi du du xanh) [1993]

  1. It’s a very gorgeous film to look at. The director, Tran Anh Hung, has a great talent fo capturing beauty. His follow-up, Cyclo, uses some of the same actors although that one is slow paced as well. The most recent work of his, Norwegian Wood, was also beautiful but a flawed adaptation of a great novel.

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