Screened as part of NZIFF 2001

The Vertical Ray of the Sun 2000

A la verticale de l'été

Directed by Trần Anh Hùng

France / Vietnam In Vietnamese with English subtitles
112 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay

Production Co

Arte France Cinéma
Hang Phim Truyen


Christophe Rossignon


Mark Lee


Mario Battistel

Production Designer

Benoît Barouh

Costume Designer

Susan Lu


Dominique Dalmasso


Tôn Thât Tiêt


Trân Nû Yên Khê (Liên)
Nguyên Nhû Quŷnh (Suong)
Lê Khanh (Khanh)
Ngô Quang Hâi (Hai)
Chu Hûng (Quôc)
Trân Manh Cuông (Kiên)
Lê Tuân Anh (Tuân)
Lê Van Lôc (Lôc)


Trân Anh Hûng’s third feature is a contemplative and exquisitely beautiful film about three sisters who keep secrets from one another, and an examination of the human desire to keep up appearances. The film unfolds in Hanoi, where Suong runs a café and employs her youngest sister, 23-year-old Liên. The middle sister, Khanh, who is newly pregnant, joins the others and their brother, Hai, at a small celebration. At this gathering the sisters seem to be very close, but this apparent complicity conceals the fact that each sister has a secret… — David Stratton, San Francisco Film Festival 2001

Though a contemporary of Assayas, Denis, Desplechin, and Carax, the Vietnamese-born but Paris-educated and -assimilated Trân Anh Hûng is rarely even name-checked by admirers of current French cinema. Perhaps that’s because, though French-financed, all of Tran’s films take place on Vietnamese soil; never mind that the title of his latest – a dissonant and vaguely Chekhovian melodrama about sisters and their lovers in verdant present-day Hanoi – evokes Eric Rohmer’s Le rayon vert, or that his first, The Scent of Green Papaya, though set in 1951 Saigon, was shot entirely on a soundstage in Boulogne.  — Chuck Stephens, San Francisco Bay Guardian