Beautifully shot but flawed by inconsistencies of style, Dang Nhat Minh’s “The Season of Guavas” indirectly surveys 30 years of Vietnamese history through the yarn of a well-meaning man still emotionally attached to the family home long ago requisitioned by the state. Delicately drawn, but sometimes stiffly acted by some of the adult cast, pic could have a moderate career on specialized Eurowebs.
Dang has had a solid career the past 20 years (“When the Tenth Month Comes,” “The Girl on the River,” “The Return”), without making a truly distinguished movie. “Guavas” centers on Hoa (Bui Bai Binh), rendered slightly simple by a fall in his youth and cared for by his sister (Nguyen Lan Huong), and who’s allowed to stay in his former home by a kindly young student (Pham Thu Thuy). When her father chucks him out, a pretty peasant girl (Le Thi Huong Thao) comes to his rescue. Bui is fine in the lead role, without overplaying, and Pham equally so among the younger cast. Post-production, done in France, is excellent, with sharp, clear color that enhances pic’s genuinely tender moments.