CINEMA: Sweet Dreams From Vietnam

The Scent of Green Papaya, nominated for the foreign-language Oscar, unearths a poignant, shimmering old Saigon

In most moviegoers' minds, Vietnam is Oliver Stone territory -- the metaphorical battleground on which he has played out his burly war games of the conflicted American spirit. French filmmakers have also taken bittersweet & tours of Vietnam; in movies like The Lover and Indochine, Saigon has the poignant glamour of a beautiful woman's photo in an old man's memory book.

Finally, the task of remembering Vietnam has fallen to a Vietnamese writer- director. The Saigon on view in Tran Anh Hung's The Scent of Green Papaya, recently nominated for a foreign-language-film Oscar, is serene, shimmering and stripped of melodrama. Set...

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