Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Owl and the Sparrow

Owl and the Sparrow - Thuy (Han Thi Pham) is a ten year old orphan working in her uncle's bamboo furniture factory in the suburbs of Saigon. When her uncle berates her, warning her that she needs the factory work because she can't survive on her own, she takes off for downtown Saigon. Thuy survives in Saigon selling roses, thanks to some help from Lan and Hai, two adults who befriend her. Lan (Cat Ly) is a glamorous stewardess with a company paid hotel room and a life that is starting to seem like a dead end thanks to a long affair with a married pilot. Hai (Le The Lu) is an unassuming zookeeper, happy in his work but heartbroken by the recent desertion of his fiance and concerned by the zoo's impending sale of his favorite animal, an elephant he has raised from birth.

Thuy is ready to take on any challenge, escape her uncle, save the elephant, even make a romantic match of her reluctant friends to create her own family. This sweet, simple story features modern Saigon as its fourth star, weaving the theme of the old versus the new, sometimes ruthless Saigon into a reasonably engaging character study.

W.C. Fields notwithstanding, writer/director Stephane Gauger succeeds in working with both children and animals in his first film, shot in Saigon in fifteen days entirely with hand held cameras. The story is predictable, dragging a bit at times, but Saigon and little Thuy make it work well enough.

No comments: