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In French Indochina, during the 1950s, a family of French colonists struggles to survive amid harsh economic times. The Dufresne family has invested all of its savings into a rice farm.The mother, Mrs. Dufresne, has given all of her love and care to raise her twins. The twins, brother Joseph and sister Suzanne are in their 20s and are inseparable. They love their mother who can sometimes be overly-protective, bossy and stressed out. The family has a few Vietnamese house servants who benefited from the family's generosity when they received free plots of land from the Dufresne homestead. Hard economic times are forcing many farmers to sell their lands to major landowners and corporations. The Dufresne family is regularly asked to sell their farm but mother Dufresne refuses. One day, Albert, the son of a local tycoon, is at the Dufresne farm offering 15,000 dollars for the lands. The price is fair but mother Dufresne refuses to sell, out of pride. Her son, Joseph, tired of the dead-end ... Written by
This movie hasn't been around in decades, and i was only a child when i saw it, yet it has stayed in my memory as few other movies have. I remember that it was shot on location in Southeast Asia, and that the wide-screen color imagery just seemed so exotic, humid and slightly decaying. The close relationship of the two "teenagers" (Anthony Perkins and Silvana Mangano) seemed disturbing and poignant. Am i correct in remembering a scene where Mangano dances to excite a potential boyfriend, while Perkins watches, consumed with jealousy? Jo Van Fleet as their beleaguered mother, with her exhaustion and her sudden rages, seems like the third panel in the triptych of Van Fleet's "aging women" roles (the other two are in EAST OF EDEN and in WILD RIVER). I also remember Alida Valli as the sophisticated woman (does she have some sort of limo?) who gets involved with Perkins.
I've read the novel by Duras, which i love, but i haven't seen this movie since its first release, when my (twin) sister and i were taken to it by our grandmother. We were excited because there were very few movies which seemed to be about twin siblings (i didn't realize that the characters weren't supposed to be twins until i read the novel a few years later). The relationship between Perkins and Mangano did seem to be especially close. I also have no idea where this movie is: there hasn't been a public screening of this movie in the US in almost 50 years! (If there has been, i'm ready to be informed of that fact.)
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