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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 army officer, which will change both their lives significantly. Written by
After seeing The Scent of Green Papaya, I was not expecting much, just a vehicle for Catherine Deneuve. And while it most definitely is that, it is also so much more.
The stunning cinematography, the elegant score, and the epic love story set against the turbulent colonial times. I was quite taken with the myriad plot twists. Too bad our high schooler has a 3minute attention span.
This is a very real depiction of colonialism. One reviewer noted the maternalism of Deneuve's character while pointing out the brutality of the slave sellers. People expecting a total condemnation of colonialism or a total condemnation of communism just don't see the gray between the black and white. Unfortunately, only Europeans could have made this movie. There is no didactic viewpoint, which is why some Americans don't react well to it. While the ending is a bit flat, it still doesn't detract from the fact that this was a great movie.
One of the little pleasures of this movie is listening to the Vietnamese housemaid's pidgin French and reading the subtitled translation. While movies like The Scent of Green Papaya are wonderful and deserve all the accolades they are accorded, this movie is very underrated. Green Papaya is a nice cultural experience but it can't come close to Indochine for grit and history. 3 1/2 stars out of 4.
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