Review of nguyen nhat anh’s i see yellow flowers in the green grass

Eric. Amateur classic movie reviewer. UCI/UCSC. Gooner/LA Galaxy fan/Yank. Trekkie, M*A*S*Her, Peanuts fan. Voracious news reader & student of political science and public policy. Depression survivor. Not particularly in that order.This is a classic movie blog concentrating on pre-1980s films, but newer ones appear too. My movie đánh giá tagged “My Movie Odyssey” are this blog’s beating heart and soul. Other interests will appear. Remember: the pellet with the poison"s in the vessel with the pestle.

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Apr. 25, năm nhâm thìn at 7:17pm with 1 cảnh báo
Yellow Flowers on the Green GrassTôi thấy hoa xoàn trên cỏ xanhVictor VuThinh VinhTrong KhangThanh MyMai The HiepTruong Tu LIenLe VinhAnh TuKhanh HienMai TranCong HuanMy AnhNguyễn Nhật ÁnhK'Linh NguyenChristopher WongGarrett CrosbyMy Movie Odyssey

Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass(2015, Vietnam)

After debuting at the năm ngoái Cannes Film Festival, Victor Vũ’sYellow Flowers on the Green Grass(its Vietnamese title: Tôi thấy hoa rubi trên cỏ xanh) made its Vietnamese premiere on October 2, 2015. Based on the novel I See Yellow Flowers on the Green GrassbyNguyễn Nhật Ánh, this film – at an astronomical budget (at least, in Vietnam) of almost $1 million – was a smash critical & commercial success, touching upon waves of nostalgia and childhood innocence in a heartfelt way. Vũ, who directed the medieval action-fantasy epic Blood Letter(2012) & the popular horror film Vengeful Heart(2014), reveals a tenderness that he, speaking at the Viet Film Festival in Orange, California (where this reviewer was able to lớn see the film), has rarely summoned in his filmmaking career. The North Hollywood native has crafted a beautiful adaptation, where its strength lies within its narrative & powerful non-professional child actor performances that are all too uncommon in cinema, not so much the craft.

The film focuses on two brothers - 12-year old Thiều (Thịnh Vinh) và 8-year old Tường (Trong Khang) – & Thiều’s girl classmate và first crush, Moon (Thanh Mỹ, a rising star in Vietnamese cinema). It is 1989. The three children live in a coastal, agricultural Central Vietnamese town where the only worries they have are their studies, the health of Tường’s pet frog, the class bully Son (Cong Huan), and a mysterious princess that occasionally appears và plays withTường. The village is poor, but the film almost never makes a point of their poverty – a development that I think might make this film difficult to consume for certain Western viewers as they expect cinema of the so-called “Global South” khổng lồ depict characters wallowing, scrounging, starving, penniless. For the three lead children, their playtime adventures take them kite-flying, walking alongside riverbeds, exploring the nearby forests, partaking in the Mid-Autumn Festival, causing havoc, và listening lớn stories. For Thiều, he is too shy to lớn articulate his feelings for Moon, và vice versa; for portions of this film, Moon is shown spending more time with Tường. When a fire consumes a part of Moon’s home, & as the princess (Mỹ Anh) meets Tường more often during an injured spell, good things vày not last forever, & friendships must go their separate ways.

If there is anything that supporters and detractors of Yellow Flowers on the Green Grasscan agree upon, it’s that the performances delivered by the three child actors – Thịnh Vinh, vào Khang, & especially Thanh Mỹ – are superb. All three were casted following an extensive search of child actors in the Saigon area; however, Vũ believed that three thành phố children might not be able to lớn relate to lớn a story of the countryside, a carefree childhood, & a time before Vietnam’s relations improved with the West & adopted facets of Western culture. Thịnh Vinh is a handsome kid, as he, in his character’s reticence & lankiness, projects brotherly jealousy and awkwardness commendably. How he expresses selfishness & tearful regret in incredibly short timeframes is remarkable.Trong Khang, asTường, serves as comic relief, with his character’s craftiness, silly observations one might expect from an eight-year old, và the widest, most infectious smile this film has. And Thanh Mỹ is extraordinary, with an unbelievable command of different emotions that, when expressed, are deeply moving – pensiveness, wistfulness, sorrow (always natural, as if she could cry on cue), happiness are all present. She is more believable in her performance than can be described. Together, the three leading child actors carry Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass, allowing it to be much more than the film’s elementary framing (more on that shortly). It is a testament lớn their professionality, even if the boys are non-professionals themselves.

With a thin plot (typically not a criticism from me, & thatincludes this film) based off an almost vignette-like novel told from theperspectives of children,Yellow Flowers on the Green Grassmust alsodraw from its thematics & subtext. Co-screenwriters Vũ, Việt Linh, and ĐoànNhật nam giới tend khổng lồ these necessities by clinging to lớn Vũ’s closeness khổng lồ his youngerbrother, which inspired how the film depicts the brotherly love between the twoboys. Unstated, unconditional, and filled with smaller daily comedies, thatbrotherhood is not tested until later in the film, as Thiều – in surreptitiousways and, later, through impulsive violence – harms his younger brother, out offrustration that Tường is allowed lớn spend so much time with Moon. The puppylove that might appear in an American narrative is absent here – withoutconsideration or understanding of what Moon & Tường want, Thiều’s actions area slow-moving replication of those committed by the class bully, Son. Theresults of that steaming jealousy towards his younger brother proveconsequential; how lucky he is that Tường’s capability for forgiveness isunquestionable, instantaneous.

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So much of the film’s incredible pathos lies in what remains unsaid. Everyday conversation – whether playful or observational – implies certain longings, things that the characters are hiding from each other. Most obviously, there are the awkward conversations that Moon và Thiều engage in earlier in the film – they both admit that they lượt thích spending time with each other, with embarrassed looks on their faces, unable to lớn say much more. Probably the plotline regarding the mysterious princess & a self-proclaimed king underlines the appeal and ubiquity of folk stories in Vietnam – và how children, sometimes even adults, adhere khổng lồ older superstitions and tales.

K"Linh Nguyen‘s cinematography showcases the beauty of Phú lặng Province on Vietnam’s South Central coastwith spectacular panoramic shots medium-long-range shots that instill how enormous this region is for a child. Blessed with the coastline và healthy farmland overlooked by small, green mountains, it is a breathtaking backdrop lớn the action. Yet Nguyen’s camerawork in intimate, stiller scenes is never that still. An overuse of slow-moving dolly shots, and crane-enabled cinematography (necessary for certain scenes, including the flood scene where production designer/costume designer Ghia Fam had structures rising above the water cấp độ of a local lake), combined with some impatient editing makes for a faster-moving film than preferred. For a film laden with coming-of-age themes & narrative conceits rarely appearing in cinema anywhere, one wishes Nguyen, the editor (whose name I could not find as of the publication of this write-up), & Vũ could allow shots to lớn be held in place for just a few seconds longer, maybe five seconds. Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass’ pacing problems are exclusively in its tendency to rush through quieter scenes and an overuse of slow-motion khổng lồ announce,“Hey! This is a Really Important Moment!”

The score by frequentVũ collaborators Christopher Wong (primary composer) and Garrett Crosby (additional music) represent the first time that Wong and Crosby have worked with a full orchestra for one of Vũ’s films. For Wong especially, who has worked onVũ’s litany of thrillers, the shift from action/horror thrillers khổng lồ coming-of-age drama is marked by the fact Yellow Flowers on the Green Grasscontains an old Vietnamese children’s folk tuy nhiên as its primary motif (best integrated in the cue, “The Matter of Loving You”). Performed byNgọc Hiển during the Mid-Autumn Festival scene, the folk song is“Thằng Cuội”– composed by Lê Thương, & inspired by a legend about a clever liar-trickster namedCuội who nevertheless becomes a renowned doctor, later ending up flying towards the moon after grasping a floating Banyan tree (and khổng lồ this day, according lớn the legend, one can seeCuội & his Banyan tree by looking at the moon). Lượt thích any folk song that has lasted generations, the melody is memorable and, as it is often applied khổng lồ the score, it is a wonderful complement to lớn the drama và the setting.

Despite this, Wong and Crosby offer distracting passages of music in the first half of the film that too clearly announce the more mischievous, goofier moments. These musical ideas seem more suited for a straight comedy or an animated short film, not a coming-of-age drama (arguably a dramedy).

Vũ is forty years old – quite young for a film director. Yellow Flowers on the Green Grassis a heartfelt, cleansing, và realistic glimpse into childhood. Certain episodes contained in the film – the particular poverty of the local families (again, not emphasized in favor of allowing the children lớn be children) and certain cultural touchstones – are specific to lớn Vietnamese of a certain age. But its disarming humor, magnificent child performances, và willingness khổng lồ portray children’s anxieties, playfulness, fears, & joys as honestly as possible makes Yellow Flowers on the Green Grassone of the best Vietnamese films ever released. Vietnam is not a country most cinephiles associate with historically và aesthetically significant filmmaking; its cinema has been largely unexplored (including by yours truly, a Vietnamese-American). Filmmakers lượt thích Victor Vũ and his contemporaries have the opportunity to địa chỉ the chapters lớn a neglected history. Yellow Flowers on the Green Grassis an imperfect film, filled with flaws that one expects from younger filmmakers. Yet its emotive purity, never voyeuristic, never catering to certain expectations, is something that is seldom ever seen.