|Life of upheaval: Quyen acted by Vu Ngoc Anh seen during a scene of the Farewell, Berlin Wall, a new Vietnamese movie released locally and internationally. — Photo thegioivanhoa.com.vn
by Thanh Nguyen
HA NOI (VNS) — Newly released Farewell, Berlin Wall lacks something strong to convince local audiences despite having dramatic plot and beautiful scenes.
Farewell, Berlin Wall tells the story of Quyen, a native of Ha Noi. She follows her husband, an educated man, to Germany with a desire for a better life. However, Quyen is kidnapped, kept in captivity and raped by a thug, Hung. Her life takes a turn from then.
Hung falls in love with Quyen, while her husband looks down on her. Then, a third man appears in her life, a German who is very kind and wants to help her in the most difficult and desperate situations.
First of all, it is not difficult to understand Farewell, Berlin Wall, although it is an arthouse film about a woman who suffers several upheavals in life. The plot is dramatic, with knots caused by ups and downs in the main character's life.
Its sexually explicit scenes were publicised much before the movie's release, attracting public interest and curiosity. However, much of those scenes are gruesome as they show the pain and disgrace that the main character has to suffer, so it is to be seen how much of it can allure audiences.
The explicit scenes involving Quyen is hot enough and acceptable in cinematic language. The scenes express the inner feelings of the main character. Viewers will be charmed by the beauty of the lead actress, the background and colours of snowy mountains, and the yellow autumn in Germany.
Actor Tran Bao Son gives an outstanding performance. He plays the character of Hung, who is rough yet emotional, quite effortlessly. Hung falls in love with Quyen (played by Vu Ngoc Anh) after keeping her in his house for a long time and dreams of having a happy family with her. Physical desire turns into love. And out of love for Quyen, Hung lets her go.
One can see Hung's love for Quyen, but he alone struggles to express it. He tries to hide his feelings behind his rude behaviour. The gangster's eyes fill with love when he looks at his lover and hesitates to get close with her.
Farewell, Berlin Wall is Anh's first experiment with movies. Hence, Anh's acting is not perfect but acceptable. She was among the top five finalists at Miss Viet Nam 2012, and she makes good use of her pretty face.
She has a cinematic beauty, which suits the character. Looking careless and dishevelled, Quyen is beautiful from all angles. Her beauty seems mature since she has experienced unbearable and miserable upheavals in life.
But, for many viewers, Anh would be more beautiful, only if she didn't talk. She speaks slowly and in a monotonous voice. Hearing her talk is like hearing a bedtime fairy tale, one of the reasons why her dialogues sound unnatural.
Quyen's husband's sudden appearance denies the movie a logical ending. Also, a series of important details happen in the second half.
Relationships in the movie are messy affairs. Quyen is surrounded by men and viewers cannot know who among them is most important for her. This loose connection can only be attributed to the script, which was adapted from novel Quyen by Nguyen Van Tho. The book had won Viet Nam Writers Association's Second Prize in the novel category during the 2006-09 period.
Farewell, Berlin Wall was directed by Nguyen Phan Quang Binh on a production cost of VND22 billion (US$1 million). It has been screened in Ha Noi and HCM City since June 19. — VNS