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The Scent of Green Papaya [Blu-ray]

Tran Nu Yn-Kh , Man San Lu , Anh Hung Tran    Blu-ray
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 34.95
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In this Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Film (1994), little things mean a lot in the world of 10-year-old Mui, a girl who's trained to be a house servant in 1950s Vietnam. As Mui grows up in pre-war Saigon, she finds quiet love with a family friend. Dialogue seems almost tertiary in this film that celebrates the senses, as the young girl discovers the world around her and marvels at every new sight, sound and scent she experiences while going about her workday life. Available for the first time ever in it’s original theatrical aspect ratio and first time ever on Blu-ray.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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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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4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful movie Aug. 8 2003
Watching "The Scent of Green Papaya?is just like listening to a harmonious song. There is not much dialogue in this movie but you will not feel boring. I enjoy the tranquil, elegant, graceful mood of the movie. It uses many simple melodies and close-up shots in the film to reflect the frame of mind of the characters. The visual and hearing beauty brings you comfort when watching it.
The first part of the film takes place in 1951, it is when the French authority almost came to an end. French has occupied Vietnam for more than 30 years prior to 1954. During the French administration, people in Vietnam had been influenced by the French. In the first half of the movie, Mui was living in a traditional family as a child servant. The grandmother lost her husband when she was still a teenager and she insisted on praying for her husband every morning and stay faithful to him. The father left home with another woman and took along all the money a few times but the mother would never blame him. Instead, the grandmother blamed her for not knowing how to please her own husband.
In the second half of the film, Mui moved to a musician's house also as a servant. The musician, who is also her master, named Khuyen, has been influenced by the French and knows how to play piano. His house was decorated all in French style, colorful and bright. Unlike the previous family, simple, antique, and all in wood. Khuyen was engaged but later then he found out that Mui was actually very attractive after she dressed up. He fell for her and afterwards he broke up with his fianc?and married Mui.
This film shows the difference between a traditional Vietnamese family and a modern westernize family. Not only the living environment have big difference but also the perception of relationships.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vietnamese Cinderella Feb. 9 2003
I'm always on the lookout for Cinderella type stories. In this story we definitely have a servant and two "naughty" step-type brothers instead of sisters. The two boys in this movie don't quite know what to make of their new servant. They almost tend to treat her like a sister in some ways while otherwise completely ignoring her and never really speaking to her. One would imagine that children at that age would look beyond the servant/master issues and actually converse as friends.
The "stepmother" could be her employer, however Mui is never treated unkindly by her because she reminds her Mistress (Thi Loc Troung) of the daughter who died many years before and would have been the same age. When the family can no longer afford to employ her, she goes to live with a wealthy young pianist.
This movie excels in artistic expression and the silent interpretation of dreams and wishes. There is a minimum of dialogue and the most casual observances become almost a cherished encounter with nature. Mui watches little frogs, crickets and ants with a sense of awe while her employer's sons would be happy to kill any insect they found.
If you love cooking, you will probably love this movie. You can even get a quick lesson in how to stir-fry. Cooking is done on the floor over coals and Mui takes on the role of chef and housecleaner. There is an emphasis on the rituals of life. The simple is made beautiful. Every natural sound seems amplified. This is not only visually appealing; the sounds of rice being poured into a huge urn or the sizzle of oil in a wok are all spectacularly recorded.
Mui is told she will get to see her mother but we never see this occur. In fact, everything in the story takes place in the house or in the surrounding village.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent copy of a movie I watched years ago
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. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan M. Libanio
3.0 out of 5 stars Can you speak
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 ... Read more
Published 21 months ago by andrew langford
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
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... Read more
Published on April 19 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, this movie is slow
I will not lie and say this movie filled with car chases or explosions. If you expect an action flick, look elsewhere. Read more
Published on March 1 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars The Slowest Movie Ever Made
This is the slowest movie ever made, and also one of the least meaningful movies I have ever seen. There is nothing redeeming about any of the characters, as they are not fleshed... Read more
Published on Dec 10 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars sorry--hated this movie
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... Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing movie
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. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2003 by sherbertrose
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
This movie is great for those who enjoy excellent character development. Not many people my age appreciate such films and I must admit that some of its like do not keep my... Read more
Published on May 1 2003 by Amanda Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite visual movie with poor DVD transfer
I agree with all the positive things said about this movie. This is one of the most beautifully photographed movies you will ever see. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2002 by Island Reviewer
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