Xich lo (1995) Cyclo
Directed by Anh Hung Tran
Starring Le Van Loc, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Tran Nu Yn-Kh, Nhu Quynh Nguyen
How can one director produce three such distinct visions of Vietnam, you have the romanticised nostalgia of The Scent of Green Papaya, the sublime beauty and serenity of At the Height of Summer and then you have Cyclo, a look into the dark underbelly of life in modern Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City.
A world where poverty, prostitutes, pimps, drug traffickers, violence, arson and murder are the norm. We follow the life of a Cyclo and his family as they are corrupted, manipulated and cajoled into acts they would never have considered doing. We see violence, not in any stylised manner like Tarantino, John Woo, the Pang brothers or any number of directors, this is violence that feels real and painful and because of that, it works.
It is amazing though that with all its downside, the film has enough positivity for the future to balance out the bad, small sequences usually involving children interlude the continuing battle between conscience and poverty.
Great performances all round and another outstanding film from Anh Hung Tran.
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full review from Howard Schumann
Highly recommended but there are some scenes that are traumatic.
BBFC rated 18.