Movie review / ‘The Third Wife’ (M)

Share Canberra's trusted news:

“The Third Wife” (M) *** and a half

IN its late-19th-century Vietnamese rural environment, Ash Mayfair’s debut film as a writer and director after a career in short films is sensitive and visually lovely.

At age 14, May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My) has been married to a wealthy Vietnamese land-owner Hung (Long Le Vu). May is pretty, innocent, vulnerable and, above all, a survivor.

Coming to the new chapter in life, May has first wife Ha (Nu Yên-Khê Tran) and second wife Xuan (Mai Thu Huong Maya) to help steer her through womanhood, motherhood and sexual pleasure.

The film gently takes May from defloration to motherhood. A blood-stained sheet represents consummation; a growing belly shows no time was wasted for conception. Marriage brings her to a comfortable life with a single goal – to bear a son. As time passes with less and less to do thanks to servants, May’s eyes and mind begin to gradually wander. Her body discovers new sensations, not all unpleasant, some learned with guidance from the older wives, others without it.

Hung’s property resembles a small self-supporting village. A sense of innocence pervades the household. It’s a male-dominated society in which the adult women of the family live in a kind of independence governed by customs that influence many daily activities.

“The Third Wife” tells about people for whom life has few complexities and simple-enough rules in a beautiful rural environment. Not clearly defining its target audience, it invites people with the wit to go along to see it to take from it as little or as much as they choose.

At Dendy

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

REVIEW OVERVIEW
“The Third Wife” (M) *** and a half
Previous articlePolice seize 70 vehicles from speeding drivers
Next articleMovie review / ‘High Life’ (MA)
Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

Leave a Reply