Wednesday, September 30 2020


Female director’s first feature to show at TIFF

Update: September, 06/2018 - 15:48
Nguyễn Phương Trà My (left) plays the youngest wife in the film The Third Wife. —Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — A Vietnamese film about arranged marriage and forbidden love will have its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Friday. 

Người Vợ Ba (The Third Wife) is director Nguyễn Phương Anh’s first feature. 

The 96-minute movie is set in the late 19th century in rural Việt Nam when a 14-year old girl is given away in an arranged marriage and becomes the third wife to her older husband. She learns that she can gain status and security if she gives birth to a male child. This becomes a real possibility when she gets pregnant.

But her path is fraught with danger when she starts to develop an attraction for the second wife. As she observes the unfolding tragedy of forbidden love and its devastating consequences, she must make a choice, to either carry on in silence and safety or forge a way towards personal freedom. 

It is a coming-of-age story, a tale of love and self-discovery in a time when women were rarely given a voice," Anh said in an interview with the website

"I grew up in Việt Nam, a society that holds traditions, history, and community to be more valuable than personal independence. The heroine of this story embarks on a journey where her identity must assume many roles, that of a child, a woman, a wife, a lover, and eventually a mother.”

The film stars Trần Nữ Yên Khê, Như Quỳnh, and Nguyễn Phương Trà My. Actress Yên Khê is known worldwide as she acts only in films made by her husband director Trần Anh Hùng, who won a Golden Lion award at the Venice International Film Festival in 1995. 

For her first feature film, Anh won several awards, including the Non-Hong Kong Project Award and Post-Production Award at the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum and the Best Art Film Project at Autumn Meeting in Đà Nẵng City. 

"I’m so happy that The Third Wife will be having its world premiere at TIFF in the Discovery section. So grateful for my cast, crew, friends, family and everyone who supported us on this long journey. My heart is so full," Anh said. 

Anh was born in Việt Nam and was educated in the UK and the US. She received a Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has made several short films including Man (2011), Heart of A Doll (2011), Grasshopper (2012) and Lupo (2016). 

The Third Wife will compete for an official award at the Saint Sebastien International Film Festival at the end of this month and will be shown at Busan International Film Festival’s “A Window on Asian Cinema” in October. — VNS



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