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"Three Seasons"

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Three Seasons is very pretty to look at and very languid -- so languid, in fact, that at times it resembles a cinematic version of one of those soothing environmental mood tapes for beddy-bye time. Although this is the first American independent film to be shot in Vietnam with predominantly Vietnamese actors, it doesn't seem to have any center of gravity. The first-time writer-director Tony Bui, who was born in Vietnam but reared in America, has a remarkable eye for shots of lotus petals and rain-swept alleys and city lights at dusk. His aesthetic sense is so rarefied that he turns everything into spun sugar: Sequences involving a prostitute (Zoë Bui) and a smitten cyclo driver (Don Duong); a returning Marine (Harvey Keitel) trying to locate his daughter; a young girl (Nguyen Ngoc Hiep) harvesting lotus blossoms; or a homeless street kid (Nguyen Huu Duoc) all have the same temperature -- lukewarm.


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