Soul quest in Vietnam
The golden butterfly tree
by Pham Thien An
Drama, 1h58. In theaters September 20.
“If God existed, he wouldn’t have let this happen.” One of the protagonists of the film protests against the death of a mother leaving a 5-year-old orphan somewhere in Saigon. His uncle, Thien, takes him to his native village, in search of his family, his roots. And his soul too. Because this film is a spiritual quest. With Vietnam as a setting, the director reinterprets Holy Scripture: the Good Samaritan on a motorcycle, Thien-saint Thomas touching the veteran’s wound, baptism in a muddy torrent, a bouquet of fireflies (the butterfly tree of or) as a burning bush. Faced with the long sequence shots, the slow tracking shots in waterlogged landscapes, we think of Andreï Tarkovsky, an almost mystical Soviet filmmaker. Alas, this beautiful (but too long) film descends into confusion at the end.
Our opinion: **