This 1998 award willing film is the first American independent production to be shot in Vietnam with native-speaking actors since the Vietnam War.† The film is a wonderful effort by Tony Bui, a Vietnam-born U.S. raised director with this being his first film.† He also wrote the script and helped produce the film.† It is set in Saigon.
The story weaves together four stories.† One is of a reclusive poet who has leprosy and is in charge of a farm that raises beautiful white lotus flowers.† He hears one of his female workers singing a song that reminds him of his youth and she gently encourages him to begin writing his poetry again.† A second story involves a small child who sells a variety of items from his wooden case that he walks around with until it is stolen from him.† A third story is about a man who earns his living as a pedal-bike cab driver who falls in love with a prostitute he gives a ride to.† The fourth story is about an ex-marine (played by Harvey Keitel) who is looking for his daughter that he left behind after the war.† Keitelís role is not the dominant one.† All the little stories are woven together.† (Keitel is the executive producer).
It is an elegant and unpretentious little film well worth your watching.†
It paints a picture of a country in transition, which is struggling with where it is going.
But more than anything, it is about hope, about not giving up, about persistence, and about not forgetting the past---it is about relationships.† That is what links all the stories together.† Some might say it ends too optimistically.† But those who feel that way fail to realize that life sometimes does live up to optimism!