This story is set in 1930, at the time when French colonial rule in Indochina is ending. A widowed French woman who works in the rubber fields, raises a Vietnamese princess as if she was ...
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A little girl, Mui, went to a house as a new servant. The mother still mourns the death of her daughter, who would have been Mui's age. In her mind she treated Mui as her daughter. 10 years... See full summary »
Tran Anh Hung
Tran Nu Yên-Khê,
Man San Lu,
Thi Loc Truong
Realising a dishonest deal has been found out a diamond merchant commits suicide, leaving the gems in question for his wife. Knowing the business from the time before drink largely took ... See full summary »
In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.
Tony Ka Fai Leung,
This story is set in 1930, at the time when French colonial rule in Indochina is ending. A widowed French woman who works in the rubber fields, raises a Vietnamese princess as if she was her own daughter. She, and her daughter both fall in love with a young French navy officer, which will change both their lives significantly.
Colonialism presides over its own destruction; Amor Vincit Omnia.
Some of the INDOCHINE comments already posted are so powerful that I was hesitant to offer my own. I am not an authority on the art of cinema, preferring to experience films and then see what I think/feel about them. INDOCHINE is a profoundly beautiful and moving film. I watch it now and then to recalibrate my moral compass.
Background: I believe that colonialism's fate was sealed with the invention of movable type. Granted, it seemed unstoppable for a few centuries, but all forms of Manifest Destiny, et. al, like all dogs, eventually have their day. So will those that are currently wallowing in "puerile, self-congratulatory nationalism," to borrow a phrase from Carl Sagan.
Philosophically speaking, colonialism, like slavery, is indefensible. What's to like, unless you're the one doing it? True, there are films that celebrate the triumph of colonial powers over lesser beings. Here are three: THE FOUR FEATHERS, THE SAND PEBBLES, sort of, and GUNGA DIN, also sort of. GUNGA DIN, however, imputes more intelligence to the erudite Thugee leader, GURU, than the three loutish British noncoms who fight him to preserve the RAJ. The noble, water-carrying Gunga Din, a sort of human reincarnation of Rin-Tin-Tin, saves the day and gives his life for his beloved leaders. More than often, such films serve patriotic purposes. Whatever works, eh?
INDOCHINE is a fine example of cinematic art with a strong message about social justice and the rights, under Natural Law, of all peoples. It is strikingly beautiful. But under all this beauty lay injustice, cruel exploitation and addiction to drugs and sexual appetites. One sees the rot and decay of the French and Mandarin ruling classes. Compared to them, the Communists didn't look half bad. For more on that subject, look up THE NEW CLASS, by Milovan Djilas, in Wikopedia if you don't want to read it.
Just as France held fast to her colonies in Indochina like a parasite, colonist/rubber plantation owner Emile fastened on to his daughter, Elaine. In turn, she clung to her beautiful adopted daughter, Camille.
The most striking metaphor was the Tango scene, in which mother and daughter danced a grotesque parody of romance. The young naval officer, Jean Baptiste, saw this very clearly. Confronting Elaine with this awful truth got him banished, his naval career in tatters (actually, it's not quite that simple).
It also put in motion a tragic set of events that convulsed the lives of all concerned. The love between Camille and Jean Baptiste survived, living on through their infant son, Etienne, who was adopted and raised by Elaine.
Every time I watch this remarkable film I feel emotionally drained. Time to watch something light and funny, eh?
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