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Scent/Green Papaya

Tran Nu Yn-Kh , Man San Lu , Tran Anh Hung    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 57.05
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Product Details

Product Description


"Watching it is like seeing a poem for the eyes." That's how Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert described this exquisite, Oscar-nominated, French-Vietnamese film from 1993, which begins in the 1950s and ends more than a decade later during the early years of the Vietnam war. The story is set almost entirely in a Saigon house where a 10-year-old orphan girl named Mui arrives to work as a servant. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Mui is quietly and carefully observant of everything around her, from the scent of green papaya (hence the title) to the relationship between her employers. The film takes its visual cues from Mui's observations--it's a placid, soothing film that lingers over the physical and emotional details of its setting and story.

What's really astonishing about this beautiful film is that director Anh Tran Hung shot it entirely on a soundstage in Paris, but the sights and sounds are so completely convincing that you'd swear the setting is an actual home in Saigon. This remarkable craftsmanship remains invisible to the viewer, and the seductive progression of the story unfolds with exacting visual precision. It's a film about Mui's growth and development, but also about her benevolent effect on the world around her. As such, it's a movie to savor like no other, life affirming and glorious in the memorable depth of its captivating simplicity. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent copy of a movie I watched years ago June 20 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I watched this movie years ago on VHS. I like this director's work, although some of it is a bit beyond me. Must be a cultural thing.
But I love how the silence is a part of the dialogue, too. Great DVD quality, fast service. Very satisfied customer. Thanks!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Can you speak Jan. 7 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Do any of the actors know how to speak? you have to follow the story by reading the facial expressions of the actors ... should have maybe put Roger Moore in it somewhere ... At least when there was speech, it was genuine Vietnamese and not dubbed Chinese.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOMETIMES GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE... July 19 2006
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
This is a lovely French-Vietnamese film that tells the story of Mui (Man San Lu), a ten year old, illiterate girl with a sweet disposition who becomes a servant in a traditional upper middle class, Saigon household in 1951 Vietnam. Separated from her mother at such a young age, Mui takes the world in stride, enjoying and savoring all that is around her. Even the simple scent of green papaya charms her. She is definitely someone who looks at her glass as being half-full rather than half-empty.

She comes to the household like a breath of fresh air. The household consists of a mother, a father, three sons, and the grandmother, the father's mother. The mother (Thi Loc Truong) seems to be a somewhat unhappy woman. Having lost her only daughter, a child that would have been Mui's age had she lived, the sight of Mui makes her happy. She otherwise has little about which to be happy. The father (Ngoc Trung Tran), a seemingly uncommunicative man, spends his time playing melancholic music. He occasionally leaves the household for months at a time, taking with him the family's money and small valuables in order to carouse and have a good time, leaving the mother to fend for the family as best that she can. The grandmother is given to berating her, blaming her for the father's absences.

There are three sons in the household, two young ones who play pranks and torment others, as well as a much older son, whose best friend, Khuyen (Hoa Hoi Vuong), occasionally comes to dinner. It is there that he first catches Mui's eye, and she is smitten, developing a little crush on him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended! April 19 2004
By A Customer
Absolutely phenomenal! This is, by far, my favorite Vietnamese film. Rather than repeat what other reviewers have said, I will just say that I can not recommend this film highly enough. It really stays with you. BEAUTIFUL!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable foreign film! April 17 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I remember the first time I had ever seen this movie. 4-5 years or so ago I was surfing through my parents' digital cable movie channels hoping to find something that interested me. When I read the info for 'The Scent of Green Papaya', I thought to myself, that sounds like a good movie, so I tuned in to watch. Honestly, the first time I watched it, I thought it was good, but after the second and third time, I thought it was fantastic. It's a charming story about a 10-year-old servant girl growing up in the 1950's in Saigon. As you're watching the movie, you feel sorry and perhaps a bit angry at the mother who's husband is cheating and leaving the house for days with all the family's hard earned money. You learn to spite, yet love the youngest son for his devilish and mischievious tricks he plays on the young servant girl.
It's a wonderful movie, but not necessarily family oriented. Perhaps for those interested in forgein films with a bit of comedy and romance attached. Still, it is definitely a must see!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, this movie is slow March 1 2004
By A Customer
I will not lie and say this movie filled with car chases or explosions. If you expect an action flick, look elsewhere.
I understand people's reaction to the slowness of this movie because when I saw it, I thought the same thing. However, over time I came to appreciate it. What this movie lacks in plot, it makes up in beautiful scenes and images. There are not many movies that leave you thinking about it years later.
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1.0 out of 5 stars sorry--hated this movie Nov. 29 2003
By A Customer
I'm an asian female and the strange eroticizing of this woman is freakish to me. Her gaping hollow stare is maybe endearing as a child, but as a woman it just made her look developmentally delayed.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing movie Oct. 20 2003
Normally, I don't mind movies that use visuals instead of dialogue to tell the story as long as the visuals give a good insight into the character. I also don't mind if the plot is simple as long as it is revealed in a compelling way. However, the visuals seem to give a sense of the environment around the characters than revealing anything about the characters especially in the second half. Nothing in the movie compelled me to feel anything for the character even when she finally got the guy. This movie was a waste of my movie-viewing time.
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