We have, before the viewing ofETERNITY, dedicated a retrospective to its director Tran Anh Hung.

Through the chronicle of his five previous movies, The smell of the green papaya, Cyclo, the vertical of the summer, I Come With The Rain and The ballad of the impossible, we have been able to extract some of the patterns and key themes of his cinema, allowing us to better consider his last film. In parallel, we have read The Ballad of the impossible of Haruki Murakami and the elegance of The widows ofAlice Ferney to better gauge the quality of their film adaptation by this exciting author that is Tran Anh Hung.

Our verdict, as we are proposing BECAUSE we have a vision to be relatively exhaustive of the work, is thatETERNITY is a fantastic adaptation of the original book, which is well within the continuity of the previous work of the director.


In all objectivity, we also recognize the film a certain inaccessibility for who would not have read the book, which would not have explored the work of Tran Anh Hung, or which would expect just the classic movie era, between quotation marks “sold” by the promotion of the film. Between quotation marks, because [wp_colorbox_media url=”https://www.leblogducinema.com/wp-content/uploads//2016/06/éternité-2-1.jpg” type=”image” hyperlink=”poster”] was, in effect, an index is clear: ETERNITY is closer to a work like Tree of life, which would be sort of the extrapolation of one aspect, that of the inexorability of existence.

Inevitably, therefore pose the questions:

An adaptation like this should be part of his viewer WHAT HE IS in his creative process, even if that means losing the substance of the original work ?

– A film should be enough by itself ?

As we explained in our chronicle of the elegance of The widows

The narrative structure of the book – taken up by the film almost the same – the essence of it.

In fact, Alice Ferney is told a story of the time that passes inexorably.

The protagonists do not appear as the subject of reflections on the meaning of existence itself, from an omniscient narrator seeking to understand the impact of the inevitable over the course of a life. This narrator conjoncturait then to a very intimate, on the emotions experienced by Valentine, Matilda and Gabrielle, both upstream and downstream of a few centers of gravity persistent at the heart of their personal stories. These centres of gravity are of the exact moments, the moments of meetings with the loved ones (future husbands, friends and as many new born), as well as those relationships or reach their paroxysms, in the love, or grief.

Past, present and future are thus constantly intertwined, each micro-climax-feeding of experience and influence, a history already written. The sense of repetition inherent in this structure allows to account for the fluidity of existence and the effect of continuity irrepressible, while the emotion is born gradually in the us, reaching a climax in epiphanies of the characters with respect to the different meaning of their lives. A death or a birth, a love or a friendship, while it is trivial within a great whole, enveloping, timeless, and fascinating, that it is incumbent upon us to catch glimpses.

The elegance of the widows to generate a feeling of universality through a few individual destinies, socio-culturally distant from us (the book takes place in the mid-bourgeois, catholic, and conservative of the early Twentieth century), similar to the surface (lustful housewives, mothers hens), but resonant nevertheless an intimate level, by the depth of his insidious existential reflection.

In adapting for the screen the elegance of The widows, ETERNITY would have been able to devote himself to the three portraits of women, appearing as a watermark in the book… Valentine, who devoted his entire life to his children, Matilda the one for whom motherhood is like a pushing and selfish, and Gabrielle the one who surrender his freedom, by duty and by love. But then, the scope and meaning of the film would have been any other. ETERNITY would then become the classic and much-awaited period film above-mentioned, certainly accessible as charming and charismatic (for his cast, his stories, his artistic direction), and perhaps even protest as treating watermark, the cause of women challenged by an environment that is patriarchal…

“Eternity is a fantastic adaptation of the original book which is in continuity with the previous work of Tran Anh Hung… thus Becoming by extension, a work almost inaccessible”

ETERNITY , however, the choice to be faithful to the book and we dive almost exclusively, in this melancholy inherent to the succession of happiness and unhappiness extremes that punctuate the lives of the protagonists, giving them (in fine) a real consistency; the usual notions of narrative, story, empathy, or temporality, are completely altered, fragmented, and unpredictable, making the film more auteuriste and sensory… that popular. It is here that the first question needs to be thoughtful, or even reworded:

Are you looking for in the film adaptation of your literary favorites, the transcript of the perfect emotions that you have felt in reading them ?

If yes, and regardless of your appreciation ofETERNITY, know that this is exactly what is intended and achieved, Tran Anh Hung, moving with this movie, right in his comfort zone.

Because, as we explained above, Tran Anh Hung continues simply with ETERNITY the exploration of its themes and motifs fetishes.

The realization, for example, is to be considered through the prism of continuity; the visual sense of Tran Anh Hung, at work from his first film The scent of green papaya , and speaking by the framings and movements of aircraft fluids, voyeurs and virtuoso, remains here intact. Better, his direction is gaining in strength thanks to the beautiful and nostalgic photo of Mark Lee Ping Bin, and then through the impressionist artistic direction signed Tran Nu Yên Khê (muse of the director, an actress in his first four films).

Still in this idea of continuity, but more radical still, its intra-diégétique* removes almost entirely the dialogues to be organic (sounds of nature, sounds of the Man), while its extra-diégétique* is a directory relatively varied classical music, as well as the voice-echoing that of the narrator(trice ?!!) in the book. In both cases, ALL that one intends to tell the moods of the characters, and represents a level of reading sensory extra in the film. Sensoriality expressed also in the choice of mounting, connecting the moments rather than scenes, the impressions rather than a story, a depth, an intangible rather than a obvious reading.

Question background herself, the Woman – its beauty, its versatility, its aspirations – are at the heart of the film , Tran Anh Hung’s since his debut; no surprise to see yet another facet here, even if particularly clean. In addition, since the fourth film I Come With The Rain, the melancholy and existential questions are becoming his main motifs, storing them in passing the usual criteria of structure, story and/or narrative, construction of characters and empathy to devote himself to a more philosophical, that of human nature.

In sum, the second question finds an answer: ETERNITY is a work perfectly constructed and coherent from the point of view of its approach to copyright, linking, ideally, the medium of cinema and the medium of literature.

It is then our role as journalists to explain the best that this famous approach, to allow potential viewers who don’t understand fully the film. And beyond that… to Commit to reading the elegance of The widows and to discover other exciting films of Tran Anh Hung. We hope that we succeeded.



* If the diégétique is the narration, then its intra-diégétique is the audible sound heard by characters in a film, when the extra-diégétique is inaudible, and for the viewer.






Click on the image to view the critical

The scent of green papaya (★★★★★)

“A cinema of the stimulation sensitivity, as we like !”

Cyclo (★★★★☆)

“A social cinema and ultra-immersive, a film that is more masculine but still sensitive”
To the vertical of the summer (★★★★☆)

“A mapping of the feeling of love through the stories, sensitive and delicate of the three couples”

I come with the rain (★★★☆☆)

“A polar sick and fascinating, sublimated as much as ravaged by her attraction to melancholy, violence, and religion”

The Ride of the impossible (★★★☆☆)

“an adaptation that is very far from its original material, where Tran Anh Hung continues its approach of the author seeking the brilliance and dreams from a story, yet very practical – even if that means losing the viewer (or reader) who has not been warned “

Eternity (★★★★☆)

A fantastic adaptation of the original book which is tail-coat in the continuity of the previous work of Tran Anh Hung… Awesome but, in short, almost inaccessible


The elegance of the widows (★★★★☆)

“Tran Anh Hung and Alice Ferney share this love of the portrait of a lady, and this ability to give shape to the aspirations of female


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