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.