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CYCLO

Vietnam / France, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Contemporary World Cinema )

Director: Tran Anh Hung

Director Tran Anh Hung brought rural 50s Vietnam to vibrant, poetic lire in his debut film The Scent of Green Papaya (1993) In his latest. very different film. Tran shows us the bustle and brutality of modern urban existence in a surreal Ho Chi Minn City running over with crime. violence, weird sex and madness Almost a complete turnaround from the Intimately observed, studio-shot Papap. Curb is shot almost exclusively on the streets of old Saigon and unleashes the saga of a poor rickshaw driver drawn into the criminal underworld and then spewed out again.

Enigmatic plotting and external locations impart the sense of a sprawling over-crowded city on the verge ot total chaos The protagonist is an 18-year-old orphaned pedal-laxi operator who has his livelihood threatened when his vehicle is stolen. Initially taking on errands for a small gang of thugs to make ends meet, the cyclo (he Is never referred to by name) swiftly becomes entangled in far more sinister goings on. Poverty and wealth exist side by side. divided in this case by the line between scraping out an honest living and becoming part of an exploitative criminal network.

Many of the central characters seem hell bent on self-destruction and as the heat is turned up. personal cataclysm approaches Stunning, excessive violence explodes amidst extraordinary beauty, intense performances and starlling images in this hypnotic drama that scooped the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

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