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Three Seasons

4.6 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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(Feb 26, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

An American in Ho Chi Minh City looks for a daughter he fathered during the war. He meets Woody, a child who's a street vendor, and when Woody's case of wares disappears, he thinks the soldier took it. Woody hunts for him. A cyclo driver, Hai, gives a ride to Lan, a hotel call girl, and starts waiting for her daily; he falls in love with her and tries to break through her tough veneer. Kien An, a young woman, takes a job harvesting lotuses in the ponds of Teacher Dao, a reclusive man who has leprosy. Her singing awakens him from depression, and he asks her to write down poetry he has composed. The characters' paths cross in small ways, around flowers and kindnesses.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ngoc Hiep Nguyen, Ngoc Minh, Phat Trieu Hoang, Diem Kieu, Hanh Kieu
  • Directors: Tony Bui
  • Writers: Tony Bui, Timothy Linh Bui
  • Producers: Harvey Keitel, Ben Bohen, Charles Rosen, Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente
  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, Vietnamese
  • Subtitles: Korean
  • Region: All Regions
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Japanese Import
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YRQ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,192 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Three Seasons" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 20, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
How fortunate I was tonight. The video clerk accidentally put Three Seasons in my bag instead of Blair Witch Project. I had never heard of Three Seasons & was surprised when I saw that it was about Vietnam. Cannot believe how beautiful the scenery and how authentic the depiction of Vietnamese life. I've written several books about Vietnam & believe it or not one of them includes the poem/song about the Lotus flower that the old woman was singing. Having visited South Vietnam this past March, I was especially touched by the scenes involving the cyclo drivers, children merchandise hawkers, and the American GI. The scenes are realistic and not overly romanticized like some of the other Vietnamese movies I've seen. I cried my eyes out in the final scenes, even though I knew what was going to happen. If you've ever wondered what became of Vietnam after the Americans left, this film will give you a good idea of the poverty, hardships, and eternal determination and spirit of the Vietnamese people. Highly recommend.
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By A Customer on December 18, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I've seen plenty of films about Vietnam before, including the Oscar nominated film, "Scent of Green Papaya," and this one surpasses them all. The beautiful cinematography, heart-wrenching harshness of life in modern Vietnam, and the poetic style of story telling left me overwhelmed with emotions. "Three Seasons" made me realize how much I really miss my homeland. The director did a great job in capturing the reality of life in Vietnam apart from the war. All of its predecessors have always shown Vietnam in reference to its famous war, but this movie captures the life and culture of the Vietnamese people. I highly recommend this film to anyone who wants to know about the Vietnamese culture apart from the depravity of war so often portrayed in other Vietnam War movies. I guarantee you will be enraptured by the lives of all of its characters.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie is extremily well made. It is so great at so many levels. First, it's an incredibly beautiful movie. From the lotus lake to the rainy, foggy, dark neighborhood, everything is so beautiful and colorful. The sceneries are as beautiful as previous movies about Vietnam; Indochine is another that comes to mind. This film is quite different from the others, as pointed out by many others, in that it's directed by a Vietnamese made intirely in Vietnam, spoken in Vietnamese. For the record, i'm constantly amused by movies that mysteriously assume Vietnamese or foreigners speak English in their free time.
What is startling to me is that none of the reviews I've read seems to ponder about the film's title: Three Seasons. The purpose of the film is to expose the culture, the country, the people, and the soul of Vietnam. With this in mind, I feel the film is very carefully and meaningfully titled. The personality of a place is not in its name; the personality is defined by the experience that you have. Spring, summer, fall, winter all become meaningless. Every place has them. They don't mean anything. Names do not evoke emotions; only experiences do.
Three Seasons depicts Vietnam in three different scenarios: the moderate and beautiful scene of the lotus lake, the scrotching hot summer that the cyclo driver has to endure, and the rainy, foggy, chilly evening that the young boy is familiar with. And it's not just what they are, but also what happen, what people do. These are the personality of the place. Personality defines what something is, not names. How many seasons are they in your hometown?
The beauty of the film is the ability to blend all these seasonally contradicting scenarios into one natural interaction.
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Format: VHS Tape
This film is really four stories in one. Two of them seem to carry greater weight: Kien An, a young woman with a beautiful voice, catches the ear of her employer, Teacher Dao, a poet afflicted with leprosy living in a home or sanatorium in the middle of a lake full of lotus blossoms, which his employees pick and sell in the public market. In a series of moving exchanges, she learns that he no longer writes because the disease has taken away his fingers. She offers to become his scribe; he accepts. Only later, as he nears death, do we learn the significance of the song she sang, which so captivated him.
Hai, a cyclo driver with a heart and mind, falls in love with Lan, a beautiful prostitute who fears emotional involvement. As their relationship progresses we come to know them as complex human beings. Their final scene together is beautifully filmed in an unforgettable setting of falling red leaves.
Woody, a street urchin, touches the heart as he moves through the rainy streets looking like a small ghost in his plastic rain poncho. Someone has stolen his case of contraband goods (US Marine lighters, watches, etc) and he has been told not to return until he gets it back. In the process he finds a new friend.
Keitel plays an ex-marine who is looking for the daughter he fathered during the war. Although his role is much smaller than the advertising would lead you to believe, he turns in a fine, ultimately moving performance in which facial expressions tell the story far better than words. (This is true of the whole film, in fact.)
In a larger sense, one might say that this film is about the search for meaning in an increasingly plastic and temporal society--represented by plastic, scented lotuses, Lan's heavy call-girl makeup, the bar scenes.
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