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The Vertical Ray of the Sun


“I miss the days when all we did was talk.”

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The third feature by Tràn Anh Hung (The Taste of Things), The Vertical Ray of the Sun traces similar patterns of food as an expression of love as three Hanoi sisters prepare a memorial meal on the anniversary of their mother’s death. The youngest Liên (Tran Nu Yën-Kha) longs for the security of a relationship, while Suong (Nguyen Nhu Quynh) and Khan (Lé Khan) have found the routine of married life increasingly constrictive. As the sisters navigate the tension between their private lives and public reputation, the conversations stir recollections of a mysterious man in their mother’s past.

Why You Should See This Film

Tran set out to create something that felt “like a caress...It had to have a gentle smile floating through it, a sort of floating feeling.” There's a complex narrative about family and longing in here, but mostly we're invited to enjoy the journey of this dreamy rainy-day film that's a languid boat ride to nowhere in particular. Tran's stunning sense of composition is enhanced by the extraordinary colours found by cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bin (who shot Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love), lending the mundane summer rhythms of food preparation and afternoon naps a transcendent quality.

Tràn Anh Hung
Tran Nu Yen Khe, Le Khanh, Ngo Quang Hai, Chu Hung
112 minutes
Vietnamese with English subtitles

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