Sat, 7 March 2015
Director Tran Anh Hung is arguably the biggest name in Vietnamese cinema, which is unfortunate because film is not one of the country's popular exports. What Vietnamese cinema lacks in quantity, however, it makes up for in quality with Cyclo, a fascinating little gem of a gangster picture that sprouted up just when Quentin Tarantino was becoming a household name.
It's fair to note that Cyclo is not technically a Vietnamese film: Tran was born there, but has lived most of his life in France and much of the production team is French. Nevertheless, the film captures the essence of metropolitan Vietnamese life, an admirable accomplishment without the common backdrop of wartime.
One note: sometimes in this episode I refer to director Tran Anh Hung as "Tran" and sometimes as "Hung". Since he and I obviously aren't friends, I prefer to refer to him formally using his family name. I understand that in most Asian cultures this would be his "first" name, which would be "Tran". My apologies for my confusion on that part.
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