Winner of the prestigious Camera d’Or for best first film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the enthralling Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell from Vietnamese filmmaker Thien An Pham is a reverie on faith, loss, and nature expressed with uncommon invention and depth. It’s a simple tale told with visual complexity: after a car accident claims the life of his sister-in-law and leaves his 5-year-old nephew an orphan, a thirtysomething man named Thien (Le Phong Vu) leaves Saigon for a trip back to his rural hometown. During his meditative, wandering visit, Thien wrestles with his own agnosticism in the face of others’ religious beliefs, summons memories of his long-disappeared brother, and reconnects with a former girlfriend who now lives as a nun at a Christian church and school. With its drifting camera, evocative use of natural light, and gratifying perambulatory nature, this is a film with the power to readjust one’s perceptions of the world around us. A Kino Lorber release.
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