This story is set in 1930, at the time when French colonial rule in Indochina is ending. A widowed 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 navy officer, which will change both their lives significantly.
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The scenery, story and cast make this film a mesmerizing journey into the 1930s, a pivotal colonial-era timeline in the Francophone world. Catherine Deneuve and Vincent Perez are captivating and simply beautiful to watch as they play two characters who once loved each other and the same woman. When watching this film I found myself enjoying the costuming, French language, banter between the social classes and street-scenes. It made me want to go there and see it for myself.
Some critics say that this Best Foreign Language Film (1992) was meant to be the Gone With the Wind of its day. Perhaps. In my opinion, it is a classic for French and History teachers who are seeking clips to reinforce lessons on the blending of culture and presence of social hierarchy, industry and language.
While I would not show the entire film to a class of high school students, there are particular scenes of Ha Long Bay and Saigon worth viewing