Vietnam, Saigon, 1951 : Mùi returns to the service of the family of the city. The opportunity for us to meet with the members, and especially women.

First feature film from director franco-vietnamese Tran Anh Hung, The SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is a film with a sensitivity that is very special. In spite of all the mastery technique of the film, it is by taking the time to film or, more precisely, of’observe andlisten to all the little things, that Tran Anh Hung raises his delicate portraits. Portraits of a daily newspaper in vietnamese, of individuals, of women to pain, more or less existential.

The staging of theobservation is based on: distance, immersion, and fluidity. Tran Anh Hung is filming in plans-a sequence of moves of the different characters in this vast house, without ever losing sight of either miss their actions, movements or expressions. Except that these people never seek to be in front of the camera, and do not hesitate to go out of the visual field theoretical to attend to their various occupations. Here breaks out the use of frames in the framework, the precision of the staging and movement of the camera: the bulkheads between the various spaces always have the means to see through, rails, windows & doors, fences or holes, and still leave the way to see what’s going on behind… Those moments or the characters are (so they think) only with themselves. There are by this way of filming, a fairly sensory to focus our attention on the importance of details.

The info which is used for nothing

We explained above the success of the combo scenography / choreography in The SCENT OF THE GREEN PAPAYA; this is explained by the fact that the film has been fully realized in the studio, in the paris suburbs. The decorations were carried out FOR the purposes of the film, no wonder they are so adapted to the movement of the camera and characters ! The film also received the golden camera (the “palm” for the best first film) at the Cannes film festival 1993

Just focus on the details, this is exactly what Mùi on a daily basis; whether its household chores, to marvel at the beauty of the world (plants, insects, and the elements… men and women), or to understand who are his “masters” from these few clues, scattered here or there. A photo, a box, a vase, a prayer, a behavior. If one side Tran Anh Hung is observed to the limit of voyeurism, the members of this vietnamese family, the other he created almost subliminalement a strong empathy towards Mùi, inhabited by the same goal as us : to know these people.

“The SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA, a film of the stimulation sensitivity, as we like !”

If the image immerses us, it is only for show and does nothing. For this, you need to listen to. Be attentive to the sounds of everyday life (city, plants, insects, elements, music, intra-diégétiques) showing us, again sensorially, an emotional state in the be observed. Worry, anxiety, loneliness, or emotions. And then… Be attentive to the dialogues. In a (long) first time, the dialogue will be functional, will give advice concerning household tasks, orders, formulas of politeness. Then, little by little, they will express the wishes more or less inner of the protagonists. Finally, information that is more intimate on the family members will come to explain what we have already taken care to analyze, as a reward for our attendance to the film

The SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is immediately singular by this stage anti-spectacular, at once attentive, delicate, immersive and remote. It presents the vietnamese family as a bubble outside of time, where there is no social dimension, threat, or asperity not be human, not just upset a balance that seems perfectly established. But also soothing and hypnotic as it might be, one cannot help but wait for these adventures which will create a minimum of suspense and dynamism in the story. Intelligently, Tran Anh Hung conceals shadows, neuroses, and moral turpitude in the trivial, the non-said and the invisible – all the more camouflaged by the everyday life and habits. It is precisely here that it will be necessary to integrate this routine foreign (like Mui), to find more precisely the dissonances, before replenishing the portraits intimate of the characters. A film of the stimulation sensitivity, as we love them !

Once the entirety of tracks intimate and emotional decrypted, begins a second part. Not that it would be a “spoiler” to reveal the ins and outs of it, but there is a certain pleasure of the surprise to see that TAH gets to the heart of the story. Some of the characters develop internally, and modify accordingly the dynamic of the film. Others bring a slight social dimension. Still others, releasing (finally) their feelings. One last fascinating part, or it is neither to question the film, nor put into practice the lessons of life, but rather to observe how a personality and a destiny are shaped by a sensitivity to the world (emotional and physical) around.

Through the eyes of a central character but not the protagonist with which we identify ourselves, in a direct way or more sensory, we learn to understand these micro-events and details that will be upset imperceptibly a routine, or enlighten it subtly on the characters: a certain depth is born, then gradually, among the women of this family (because it is definitely a story of women).

Given the synopsis and the trailer ofEternity (released September 7, 2016), can we expect from Tran Anh Hung that it is attached to portray beautiful and profound female portraits by this patience, detail and sensitivity that characterize it. In spite of a strong cultural proximity, maybe will we be surprised to find these things that are so unique that we were both upset in The SMELL OF THE GREEN PAPAYA.








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 book the elegance of The widows ofAlice Ferney, in the continuity of the previous work done by Tran Anh Hung… But by extension, an object inaccessible to that would not be so sensitive.

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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