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The Vertical Ray of the Sun

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tran Nu Yên-Khê, Nhu Quynh Nguyen, Le Khanh, Quang Hai Ngo, Chu Hung
  • Directors: Tran Anh Hung
  • Writers: Tran Anh Hung
  • Producers: Benoît Jaubert, Christophe Rossignon, Nicholas Simon
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Vietnamese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: December 18, 2001
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RDRJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,655 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Vertical Ray of the Sun" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


The lush, super-chic ambience of Tran Anh Hung's third feature, The Vertical Ray of the Sun, presents a beckoning, irresistible vision of Vietnam. The film opens with a sexy brother and sister waking up to the sound of Lou Reed's laconic voice on the stereo. They stretch, practice tai chi, meander toward a late breakfast, and playfully flirt with each other. This morning ritual--slightly disturbing but mostly alluring--recurs as a quietly resistant motif to the disappointment that awaits each character introduced. Shot on location in an impossibly hued Hanoi (lime green and chartreuse abound), the film trails after three beautiful sisters during the month that separates the anniversaries of the deaths of their mother and father. Attempting to protect the ideal memory of their parents' recently assailed love, the sisters recount kindnesses and joke with each other just as the serene charm of the café they run is to be overturned by an unexpected pregnancy and marital infidelities. Tran's lustrous style of collage is unique, pulling the viewer's attention away from imminent conflict and revelation to completely tactile and isolated moments. As with the titular subject of Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes," the sensual tension lingers on. --Fionn Meade

Customer Reviews

This is a very beautiful filmed movie.
L. J. Gray
The beautiful camera work compliments these levels of complexity to really make it one of those films that you couldn't understand with the screenplay alone.
Three sisters living/working in a cafe in contemporary Vietnam wrestle with love, death and pregnancy in this spectacular film.
M. Colford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By L. Shirley on September 28, 2004
Format: DVD
This review refers to the DVD edition(Columbia/Tri Star) of "The Vertical Ray Of The Sun"...

This is a film that simply takes my breath away. Not only is it a captivating story, but how refreshing it is to view a film about the beautiful people and luscious land of Vietnam without all the atrocities of the war going on around the story. The brillant photography takes it all in, and under the exquistely artful direction of Tran Anh Hung we are treated to a visual feast.

This moving story revolves around three beautiful sisters, as they prepare a traditional banquet for relatives as a memorial to their mother. Each sister has their own hopes, dreams, and secrets. As their everyday lives gives us a glimpse at life in Hanoi, we can't help but to feel close to them, as one by one their stories come to light. The fantasies they share, the indiscretions they hide, and the love and support of this close knit family, combined with the scenic backdrop of the lush country will surely take you away to another world for a while. It is a world you may want to revisit often.

The DVD presents a fabulous look at it all, in widescreen, and with its rich colors. The sound has the choice of DD5.1 or 2.0, and surrounds wonderfully. Even the rain looks and sounds crystal clear. The language is in Vietnamese and there are optional English subtitles. There are some moments in the film where the sisters or other family members are singing, and it may have been nice to have susbititles for these as well, but to tell the truth, the voices and lullaby like quality of the music were so soothing, it doesn't really matter what langauge you hear it in.

This is a film for lovers of foreign films, romantic getaways, great storytelling and fine filmmaking.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pharoah S. Wail VINE VOICE on June 21, 2003
Format: DVD
First off, I just want to say that I am reviewing this in terms of the movie itself, not the DVD. I rented it but my place only has it on VHS. I watched it 5 times during one rent and I just have to review it. I don't know what extras the DVD does or does not have, but this movie is magical.
This has become one of my favorite movies of all time. I have a feeling that it may be too slow and thoughtful for the majority of the American audience, though. I don't see this as a fault of the movie at all. Only a fault in the bright, flashy dazzle, quick edit after quick edit style of tv, movies, sports, and commercials that Americans are surrounded by 24/7. If the picture isn't jumping around and changing every 1.3 seconds, the average American loses interest. Their (our) loss.
Scent Of Green Papaya has been a favorite of mine since I saw it a few years ago, thus when Vertical Ray showed up at the video store I had to rent it. I hate to slight Green Papaya, but now having seen both, this movie is the better of the two.
Vertical Ray is absolutely hypnotic. There are shots in this movie that take my breath away.
tran nu yen khe (Lien) is so sensual, magnetic, and free in this movie that I can't help but fall for her. I thought I fell for her in Green Papaya, but this movie goes way beyond that one. Her emotional range with just facial expressions, not to mention words, is so alluring. She is so perfectly entrancing. It's a strange thing to say, but just she herself...the way she looks at things, talks, and moves... her face... she is a work of art in and of herself. The camera truly loves her. I really can't explain it. She may be the very definition of grace and sensuality.
I don't think there is any lack of movement in this plot or screenplay.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2002
Format: DVD
Merely another masterpiece from the best director in the world under the age of 40. This time, Tran Anh Hung takes us to Hanoi, where he introduces us to 3 sisters who are having some difficulty with the menfolk. The narrative framework, if you must call it that (if you must have one at all), consists of a loosely-connected series of incidents that take place in the one-month period between the anniversaries of the mother's, then the father's, deaths. A conversation between the 3 sisters at the anniversary party of the mother's passing reveals that the women have put their parents on a worshipful pedestal: an attempt to casually investigate the mother's old boyfriend before she was married is firmly discouraged. (Though not prevented, as we shall see.) It's soon revealed why their parents' conduct is NOW viewed by them as ideal, as perfect: their own conduct, at this time in their lives, is not so ideal, and as imperfect as life itself. The oldest sister is in an unhappy marriage in which both spouses are cheating; the middle sister, pregnant, has a husband who's frightened by impending responsibility and is considering escape; the much-younger sister, played by the luminous Tran Nu Yen-Khe from *The Scent of Green Papaya*, has been so sheltered all her life that she remains unsure of the mechanics of conception, and finds nothing particularly taboo about flirting with her own brother. Speaking of that last, it occurs during the most recurrent scenes in the film: we intrude on the brother and sister during several mornings, watching them wake up, do some excercises, smoke cigarettes, flirt, eat . . . all to the soothing sounds of Lou Reed in his mellow, middle-age period.Read more ›
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