The Scent of Green Papaya

papayaI revisited one of my favourite films last week. Every time I see it I love it more.

Masterfully directed by Tran Anh Hung, it follows the life of a Vietnamese servant girl in 1950s Saigon. The characters are subtly contrasted — male with female, young with old, decadent with diligent, selfish with satisfied, exposing the wide gamut of human experience.

This film heightens the senses — the attention to detail is exquisite. The photography is a feast in itself, like visual poetry, and with not a word wasted. Each sound is carefully placed, whether evoking the refinement of eastern culture or the simple elegance of nature.

It thus invokes my reverence for nature and my empathy for humanity. It awakens me to the flow of life and to my surroundings, however simple — after all, the whole set of the film is little more than a few rooms.

These ingredients are more than enough for me to return to the feast again and again, but what I love most is its message, like a constant heartbeat throughout: that duty is at once strong and beautiful, that humility and service win happiness, and that all we need is already within us.

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4 Responses to The Scent of Green Papaya

  1. Ongu September 5, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    I sounds like a good movie. Asian movies are very good, they are different from Hollywood movies

  2. Short Film Review January 25, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I really love this film! It is fantastic!

  3. Husiar December 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    I loved this film. A masterpiece.

  4. Liara Covert November 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    I have also been transformed by the timeless nature of this film. Its themes touch on universal feelings that evoke what we need to feel in the here and now. Although historic, it is still relevant now.

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