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... See full summary »
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Maria Conchita Alonso
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 army officer, which will change both their lives significantly. Written by
During the scene where the plantation house is burning, as Eliane walks past a group of colonial soldiers, we see that they are carrying British No.4 rifles. Firstly, French colonial soldiers would have not been equipped with British rifles. Secondly, the No.4 rifle, a simplified version of the No.1, wasn't produced until 1939. Since the film takes place in the early 1930s, it would have been impossible for anybody to have had these weapons, as they didn't exist yet. See more »
I thought it was good, if over-long. I've been reading the comments and people saying things about Indochine's realism. From what I can understand from my family (who are all half-French, half-Vietnamese, and who left Vietnam pretty much at the time the film wraps up), the sense you get of Eliane "being in charge" of the Vietnamese, and the failure to look at things from the viewpoint of the Vietnamese themselves, but only from the French perspective, is pretty accurate.
Society was essentially segregated in Saigon / Indochina. One member of my family told me a story about how they left the French "compound" in Saigon one day with their mother and - for the first time - saw the real Vietnamese people, in tattered clothes... Cue "why are they in rags, mummy?" "because that's the way most people live."
So, as I see it at least, I wouldn't criticise this film for the sense you get of the French being oblivious to the reality of their existence in Indochina. That's the way it was. That's the way most colonies were, in fact (think Shanghai). And I think that's the masterstroke of this film: that people lived their lives without ever thinking about the broader impact of what was going on, until everything just fell to pieces around their ears.
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