|The Vertical Ray Of The Sun|
Tran Anh Hung
Tran Nu Yen-Khe, Nhu Quynh Nguyen, Le Khanh, Quang Hai Ngo, Chu Hung
Widescreen; in Vietnamese; English subtitles; theatrical trailers.
|Three sisters and their extended family go through various personal crises in the most complex, erotic and moody film from Tran Anh Hung, the painterly Vietnamese director of "The Scent of Green Papaya" and "Cyclo." Where "Papaya" was a heady, low-key drama with a fascination for the sensual quality of gustatory delights and "Cyclo" was the gritty street-smart tale of a rickshaw driver, "The Vertical Ray..." is more of a Chekhovian exercise in household dynamics and sexual partnering. There's a hint of incest in the Hanoi apartment shared by youngest sister Lien and her handsome brother. Middle sister Khanh is uneasy about her pregnancy and her husband's career. Oldest sister Suong manages a café; her husband, a photographer, is frequently out of town. All harbor secrets. Although the film meanders, its refined, visceral beauty is intoxicating. The cinematography is sheer elegance, with impressionistic, muted color and tone. Be patient with it, and be rewarded.|