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Portraits of Vietnamese Women Never Have – The Hollywood Reporter


Three women living in a small village in the Mekong Delta struggle over the men they are binding. Ashes of Glorya thought-provoking if somewhat heavy-handed ensemble work by Vietnamese writer-director Bui Thac Chuyen (Adrift).

Debuting in competition in Tokyo, the film offers a fascinating look at a part of the world where old ways of life, whether farming, fishing or wives are completely subject to all last wills. of her husband, still dominates daily life. But the two-hour film never rises above its weighty and serious message, which makes it more of a thought-provoking pedagogy than a film with serious market potential.

Ashes of Glory

Key point

A tenderness to try movies about feminist conflicts.

Location: Tokyo International Film Festival (Competition)
Cast: Le Cong Hoang, Bao Ngoc Doling, Phuong Anh Dao, Ngo Quang Tuan, Ngo Pham Hanh Thuy
Director and screenwriter: Bui Thac Chuyen

1 hour 57 minutes

This does not mean Ashes of Glory At least in its conception it is not an exploratory and rather dark depiction of the ethnic struggles faced by the trio of heroines, all of whom have to endure a difficult rural life. difficult while having to deal with a trio of extremely difficult men.

For Duong (Le Cong Hoang), this means that she is still stuck in her marriage to Hau (Bao Ngoc Doling), a husband so aloof that despite returning home from work fishing on plain, he couldn’t even say a word. she. As we learned early on, Hau is still in love with Nhan (Phuong Anh Dao), a childhood friend who lives just a few houses away from the river and is in a happy marriage with ceramic worker Tam (Ngo. Quang). Tuan).

Since their village is so small everyone knows everything about the others, with the characters constantly running into each other as they run errands along the river, it’s hard to keep everything hidden for long. Specializing in attracting viewers’ attention from the beginning with the scene where Nhan’s house burned down, making us believe that either Duong acted out of jealousy or Hau decided to leave with Nahm because he didn’t love him back. But the real reason becomes more tragic, turning Tam into a madman intent on destroying his own home as the town looks helpless.

A parallel story involves Loan (Ngo Pham Hanh Thuy), a woman who was raped as a child and her assailant who was released from prison decades later. The former convict returns to the village and lives in a Buddhist monastery, leaving Loan yearning for revenge against the person who ruined her life.

Chuyen, who features 2009 Adrift won the FIPRESCI award in Venice, taking her time to weave the three stories together, synchronizing her story with the weary pace of life along the river. This can sometimes prove slow speed, even though the settings Ashes of Glory Almost a story in its own right: It’s fascinating to watch Duong and the others wade across the plains, forever on one foot in the murky waters of the Mekong. Hau’s job as a fisherman fishing on a small tower isolated in the middle of the sea, surrounded by nets and empty water, could in fact be the subject of a separate movie, and Chuyen returned to that location many times to emphasize. Hau’s severe isolation.

These observable elements are often more engaging than the film itself, which is far from subtle in placements and numbers without any major surprises. However, Chuyen shows genuine compassion for his main characters – especially Duong and Nahm, who draw closer together as they face family tragedy and a pair of useless husbands.

That is, Nahm, who is continuing to rebuild the house that Tam keeps burning down, and Duong, who waits for Hau’s return knowing full well that it won’t mean much for his dead marriage. them, refusing to fall into despair like their loved ones. Despite all they face, and this includes death, the women in Ashes of Glory anchor people’s lives while the men could do nothing but drift away.

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