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This story is set in 1930, at the time when French colonial rule in Indochina is ending. An unmarried 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. Written by
This movie is a lesson in Vietnamese history and geography wrapped in a paper of romance and marvelous landscapes
If we think about movies that deal with the recent past of Vietnam, then everybody immediately thinks of war movies like for instance, Platoon, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter... But why is that? I know how important this war was for the Americans as well as for the Vietnamese, but this is an old country with an ancient culture that has a lot more to offer than the battles, bombs and booby traps in the jungle, the rice fields or the cities. "Indochine" is a movie that tries to show us another part of the country's history. It deals with the latest years of French colonial times in Vietnam or Indochine as they called it back then.
The story starts in the 1930's at one of the largest rubber-tree plantations in Indochine (Vietnam). This plantation is owned by the French colonist Eliane, a proud woman who lives with her father and her native adoptive daughter Camille. She doesn't have a husband or a man in her life (apart from her father), but gets to know the young officer Jean-Baptiste when both want to buy the same painting at an auction. They have a short affair, but than she refuses to see him again. In the meantime it's Camille who has fallen in love with Jean-Baptiste and Eliane knows it. She makes sure he's send to one of the most desolate outposts on some remote island, making sure that the two will never see each other again. Camille has no choice, but to marry the man she was promised to, but in the meantime she starts a search to find the man she really loves.
This could have been a romantic movie in a different setting than we are used to, but nevertheless one like we have seen many more before. And in a way it is, but the movie has a lot more to offer as well. It shows the atrocities committed by the French, the great poverty of the indigenous people, the rise of Communism and the futile attempts to stop them (before the French got involved in the war that would later be continued by the Americans). This movie is a lesson in history and geography wrapped in a paper of romance and marvelous landscapes. It was beautiful and dramatic at the same time. I was touched and amazed by it and really liked it a lot. That's why I give this movie at least an 8/10.
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