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Three Seasons (1999)

PG-13 | | Drama | 30 April 1999 (USA)
An American in Ho Chi Minh City looks for a daughter he fathered during the war. He meets Woody, a child who's a street vendor, and when Woody's case of wares disappears, he thinks the ... See full summary »

Director:

Tony Bui

Writers:

Timothy Linh Bui (story), Tony Bui (story) | 1 more credit »
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7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ngoc Hiep Nguyen Ngoc Hiep Nguyen ... Kien An
Ngoc Minh Ngoc Minh ... Truck Driver
Phat Trieu Hoang Phat Trieu Hoang ... Huy, Dao's Headman
Diem Kieu Diem Kieu ... Singing Lotus Woman
Hanh Kieu Hanh Kieu ... Giang
Duong Don ... Hai, Cyclo Driver
Huu Duoc Nguyen Huu Duoc Nguyen ... Woody, Child Street Peddler
Hong Son Le Hong Son Le ... Binh, Cyclo Driver
Ba Quang Nguyen Ba Quang Nguyen ... Don, Cyclo Driver
Huu Su Tran Huu Su Tran ... Ngon, Cyclo Driver
Duc Hung Luong Duc Hung Luong ... Minh, Cyclo Driver
Harvey Keitel ... James Hager
Diep Bui Diep Bui ... Lan the Hooker (as Zoe Bui)
Hoang Trieu Hoang Trieu ... Man Who Chases Lan #1
Tran Long Tran Long ... Man Who Chases Lan #2
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Storyline

An American in Ho Chi Minh City looks for a daughter he fathered during the war. He meets Woody, a child who's a street vendor, and when Woody's case of wares disappears, he thinks the soldier took it. Woody hunts for him. A cyclo driver, Hai, gives a ride to Lan, a hotel call girl, and starts waiting for her daily; he falls in love with her and tries to break through her tough veneer. Kien An, a young woman, takes a job harvesting lotuses in the ponds of Teacher Dao, a reclusive man who has leprosy. Her singing awakens him from depression, and he asks her to write down poetry he has composed. The characters' paths cross in small ways, around flowers and kindnesses. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

leprosy | poetry | post war | song | saigon | See All (14) »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Vietnam | USA

Language:

English | Vietnamese

Release Date:

30 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tres estaciones See more »

Filming Locations:

Vietnam

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,542, 2 May 1999

Gross USA:

$2,021,698

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,021,698
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (German)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first American film to be made in Vietnam after Bill Clinton lifted the embargo. The filmmakers were followed by Vietnamese inspectors throughout filming. See more »

Quotes

James Hager: I made many mistakes in my life. That was a long time ago. Have I met the same man I was then? A lot of times past. When a chance comes around to make a wrong a right it's a special thing. But I hoped to make one thing right.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 500 Days of Summer (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Temple Breath
Performed by Jaron Lanier
Composed by Richard Horowitz
© BMI/Sacem 1998
Published by October Cues (BMI).
See more »

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User Reviews

The Unobtrusive Tony Bui
26 May 1999 | by lou-50See all my reviews

Tony Bui's "Three Seasons" takes place in the teeming nightlife and the majestic hotels and the open marketplace and squalor of modern day Saigon. It is symbolically a film about traveling the historical past and present, put together in four uneven vignettes and how the lives of five people crisscross each other. Bui is not obtrusive and so his film is gentle and sweet and he lets his actors play out their roles with naturalness and grace. The gentleness of this film can be both its strength and weakness, because you leave thinking about discrete images beautifully photographed but you don't really have a sense of what Bui was trying to say. The image of sweat running down the face of cyclo drivers and the red abrasions on naked skin across the woman's back caused by a spoon are just two examples. Also, unlike Western soap opera, he isn't here to manipulate. Take the old man, Master Dao and his terribly scarred up face and amputations. Dao could have been afflicted by the after effects of napalm or a land mine explosion but, no, he has an old-fashioned affliction, leprosy. There is no post-Vietnam hate in Bui. The spirited cycle race through the streets of Saigon descends upon us without much buildup nor dramatics. We don't realize the significance of Hai winning this race till we see what he does with his winnings. Perhaps the few times Bui decides he needs to make an explicit statement, he does so with subtlety: the plastic lotus flowers which outsell the naturally grown ones, the opulent, newer hotels rising in Saigon turning the society into truly haves and have nots (what Bui calls the people of shadows), and the hardworking cyclo driver straining to move his vehicle as his Western couple occupants chatter oblivious to his struggles. The other weakness of "Three Seasons" is that the four vignettes are so interesting that each could have occupied the entire film. Instead we get incomplete servings from all four and a hunger to know more. Bui spends more time with the cyclo drive and the prostitute and the water lily girl and her poetic master. The story about the street smart little boy, who is forever in the rainy streets looking for his missing case of trinkets to sell and finding both the case and a tender companion in the end, could have stood by itself. Similarly, the Vietnam vet who comes back to find his lost daughter because he has to 'right a wrong' is a beautiful piece that needed more detail than what the film provided. The final scene of "Three Seasons" summarizes this film neatly - the falling crimson pedals from trees lining a boulevard. It is picturesque in its beauty but the meaning of it is more effervescent than lasting.


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