Previously at the ICA - Films

still: Adrift (Choi Voi)

Adrift

22 Oct 2009

After all the lean years in which Vietnamese cinema was kept alive by émigrés who returned from France or the US to make films, here at last is an elegant, sophisticated home-grown movie to compare with the best in current East-Asian cinema. Adrift is rooted in precise and beautiful social observation, but it explores an emotional-sexual conundrum as cruel and convoluted as anything in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. At her wedding reception, Duyen watches her groom Hai (a good-natured taxi driver) get drunk and pass out. Time goes by, and Hai never seems to find his libido; the marriage remains unconsummated. Duyen turns for advice and consolation to her best woman friend, the novelist Cam – not understanding that Cam's interest in her is more than sisterly. But Cam's perverse response is to push her into the arms of her dissolute, sexed-up male friend Tho, who snatches her virginity and begins dating her. This is only Bui's second feature, but he smartly downplays the melodrama. His very grown-up song of innocence and experience is certainly lyrical, but never strays far from the cadences of everyday life. Tony Rayns

Adrift (Choi Voi), dir Bui Thac Chuyen ,Vietnam, 2009, 102min

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