Review: ‘The Deserted Valley’

An atmospheric tale of tangled passions set at a hillside school in rural Vietnam, "The Deserted Valley" reps a plum buy for ethnic-centered webs, plus a solid title for Asiaphile festivals.

An atmospheric tale of tangled passions set at a hillside school in rural Vietnam, “The Deserted Valley” reps a plum buy for ethnic-centered webs, plus a solid title for Asiaphile festivals. Technically fine production, realistically set in the soggy, mist-shrouded hills of the northwest, is too gentle (like most Vietnamese movies) to make a mark theatrically, but is well played by all its leads.

Tanh (Nguyen Hau) is a kindly janitor at a simple school for one of the country’s ethnic minorities. He’s soft on one of the women teachers, Giao (Hong Anh), to the chagrin of the other, sulky Minh (Tuyet Hanh). One of the pupils, young peasant woman Mi (Thu Trang), falls for Hung (Trung Dung), bathing in a nearby pool; devastated when she finds Giao is his lover, Mi tries to blacken the teacher’s name. Pic is upfront about locals’ take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward education, as well as the wavering conviction of the school’s staff — Tanh, who likes a drink or two, often thinks of packing it in. Melodrama is tightly held in check, replaced by a simmering sexuality that occasionally springs free in surprisingly explicit sequences.

The Deserted Valley

Vietnam

Production

A Vietnam Feature Film Co. production. (International sales: Mirovision, Seoul, South Korea.) Directed by Pham Nhue Giang. Screenplay, Nguyen Quang Lap.

Crew

Camera (color), Ly Thai Dung; editor, Nguyen Viet Nga; music, Luong Ngoc Minh; art director, Nguyen Vu. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (World Cinema), Aug. 31, 2002. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Nguyen Hau, Hong Anh, Tuyet Hanh, Thu Trang, Trung Dung, Giang A Phai.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading