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The Scent of Green Papaya

4.4 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Director of The Vertical Ray of the Sun. A story of beauty, passion, and forbidden fruit. A love story of exquisite beauty and originality, THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is the Cannes favorite that won the coveted Camera d'Or and was nominated for the Academy Award(r) for Best Foreign Language Film of 1993. Set in Vietnam in the 1950s and '60s, it is the story of a shy peasant girl who goes toSaigon at the age of ten as a household servant. Beneath the calm exteriors of the lovely home where she works is an undercurrent of lost love and marital discord. Attuned to the people around her and enchanted by nature, Mui grows into a beautiful young woman who inspires her upperclass lover to break with convention. A visual feast as well as an emotional triumph, THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is an unforgettable film experience.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Tran Nu Yen-Khe
  • Directors: Tran Anh Hung
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Subtitles: 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: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Columbia Tristar
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RDRN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,086 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Scent of Green Papaya" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
It is hard to imagine a more beautiful movie than Tran Anh Hung's "The Scent of Green Papaya". With a bare minimum of dialogue, Tran brings to the screen the story of Mui, a 10 year old Vietnamese girl who comes from the country to Saigon in the early 1950's as a live-in servant to an upper-class family whose wealth is being squandered by the dissolute and womanizing head of the house.

Mui is a simple soul who finds delight in things most of us take for granted; the exquisite cinematography in this film brings out the beauty in the most ordinary objects and lets us share in Mui's sense of wonder and discovery. Ten years later, when the family's wealth has been dissipated to the point where they can no longer afford a live-in servant, Mui is sent to work for a wealthy young pianist, Khuyen, the friend of the eldest son of her former employers. Khuyen is engaged to be married but in Mui he finds the peace and serenity that is lacking in his shallow and materialistic fiancee.

In very basic terms, "The Scent of Green Papaya" could be called a Vietnamese Cinderella story, except for the lack of a wicked stepmother. Despite the almost total lack of dialogue in the second half of the film, the movie is so beautifully crafted, and techically and emotionally so satisfying, that you come away awed with how Tran was able to do so much with so little. This film is living testimony to the fact that sometimes less is more. It's a beautiful, unforgettable story of a young woman's coming of age.

Judy Lind
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Format: Blu-ray
This Vietnamese film is a remarkable piece of film-making. A delight for the senses, there is very little dialogue in this movie and aptly so given that the movements, sounds, facial expressions, etc. are the dominant features of the film. The story's central character is Mui, a ten-year-old girl who has moved to Saigon to work as a house maid. Mui is treated well by the mistress of the house, a woman who is still grieving the loss of her young daughter seven years ago. The fact that Mui is the age her daughter would have been had she lived makes the mistress look kindly upon Mui.

Mui soon learns her way about the household (father, mother, and two sons) under the guidance of an older maid who is also the cook. She learns that the master and mistress are not close to each other, and that the master has occasionally run off with the wife's savings to fool around with other women.

The movie's charms lie mainly in Mui's portrayal of interest in her surroundings - watching an ant heave a piece of burnt bread; hearing birds sing; frogs croaking, etc. Viewers also get to see Mui's emotional growth from a naïve young child into a beautiful young woman, who eventually leaves her old household to find her livelihood in another household, where a relationship develops between Mui and her new master. This is a leisurely-paced movie that allows viewers to luxuriate in every little detail, sights, and sounds without being bombarded by non-stop dialogue or too many characters. A true cinematic gem.
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Format: Blu-ray
I saw this movie on TV back when I was 17, and it floored me. I had never seen a movie with such power; power derived from simplicity and stillness. It inspired me to expose myself to more foreign films, and see what cinema can really portray. This movie is an experience. I would give this movie my highest recommendation (especially on bluray). Also, this directors next movie, "Vertical Ray Of The Sun" is equally as good.
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By A Customer on May 1, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Expatriate Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung, who was 29 years old in 1993 when he made *The Scent of Green Papaya*, joined a select pantheon that includes the likes of Orson Welles and Jean-Luc Godard (just to name a couple off the top of my head). Meaning, he was a "wunderkind" who changed cinema. ("Was"? He's still doing it.) Even though comparing *Green Papaya* to *Citizen Kane* is like comparing papayas to oranges, the fact remains that Hung's debut had a similarly galvanizing effect on cinema that *Kane* did. This movie, quite simply, put Vietnam on the cinematic map. Set during the pre-war 1950's, it chronicles the experiences of a young servant-girl named Mui who works and lives in a well-to-do, somewhat Westernized household. Halfway through, it jumps forward 10 years: having been forced out of her job by financial constraints, Mui is sent by her employers to a wealthy pianist who's a friend of the family. Naturally, she falls in love with the handsome pianist. And there's your story. Sorry for the spoilers, but the simplicity of the virtually nonexistent "plot" is the least thing you should concern yourself with. A review below mine groused about wanting a "story in the mix", and complained that the movie's nothing more than a series of beautiful pictures. . . . First of all, in today's all-too-ugly cinema, I think it's wrongheaded to dismiss a movie that's beautifully made -- as if beautifully-made movies are an everyday occurence. Secondly, there's story enough in this mix, although those viewers too unimaginative to see beyond the prison-walls of standard, formulaic, stupid "Hollywood" narrative conventions will doubtless not even find it, let alone appreciate it.Read more ›
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