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Critique Culture & Art Ethnic Lore Family & Community Feelings & Emotions Nature Poetry Women's Affairs

The Scent Of Green Papaya [Critique]

Synopsis: An Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and winner of the Camera D’Or at the Cannes Films Festival, THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA is set in 1951 Saigon, where 10 year old Mui (Lu Man San) enters household service for an affluent but troubled Vietnamese family. Despite her servile role, Mui discovers beauty and epiphany in the lush physical details that envelope her.
Les Productions Lazennec.


Director: Tran Anh Hung

Running Time: 104 min

Year: 1993


It is an unmistakably romantic film for people who live secure with the passing of time.
Filled with director’s nostalgia for the days before the Vietnam war, it is a sweet ripe thing that the French Vietnamese director, Tran Anh Hung, in his first feature film cast his beautiful wife Tran Nu Yên-Khê. While Hung continues to work with his wife in majority of his other films, this being the first feature film, makes it that much sweeter. Winner of the Camera D’Or at the Cannes Films Festival as well as the French national film award, César Award for Best First Work, The Scent Of Green Papaya shows us the journey of a young woman’s life.
The asian culture and its various systems of organizations as well as cultural aesthetics have drawn my attention for all of my adult life. This meeting of a strong Vietnamese culture and strong French culture is visibly woven into the film’s decor, acting, directing and happy love filled ending.
For those who are comfortable with knowing, feeling and living life in the present moment this film evokes reflections about hierarchy, suffering, gender roles, cultural and societal nuances and passing of time.
Showing comparison between the natural world of plants, insects and animals and human world, it is an invitation of how power can be utilized in/by hierarchy.
I like the opening scene of this film along with the details outlining precisely the unfolding events of the film, foreshadowing what is to come. The sensual nature of the film and the detail shown in the film make it a provocatively beautiful and attractive film to watch. Well timed music through the film adds the melodies to the various tensions and feelings the film explores. Early on presenting the father playing Đàn nguyệt (Moon lute), later on the pianist who plays Chopin, as well as the background music and sound of insects make it a palpable experience for the senses. Film’s artistic detail in the art pieces, colours of the interiors and exteriors, arrangements of plants and natural environment, attention to subtlety, finely tuned moments of time make this film a fine work of art.
Perhaps this film invites a natural unfolding of emotional and sensual nature of our delicate hearts.
At minute 7:47 through Mui’s window we are shown a Papaya tree with unripe green papayas.
This fruit periodically is shown cut, washed, cleansed, bathed, sliced, prepared in various ways and its seeds are looked at in wonder. The fruit represents Mui’s young age and her journey over 10 years, her marriage to a Vietnamese pianist, and both pleasant and unpleasant moments of life.
The film unfolds and shows us the ripening in the living world, seeding and sawing our seeds of actions, and the cyclical nature of life through various sensual tensions. These tensions weave into to a melody of Mui’s life, exposing failed tensions (the pilfering and philandering father of the family, and the failed engagement of the pianist man) as well as correct and complete tensions between people.
Through the pleasing physiques of the people, the attention to the grooming and cooking, serving and cleaning, modest and kosher clothing and daily activities timed properly, the rituals of life are showing the passing and coming together of emotions between people, simple exchanges of words, and lives forming and coming apart.
The film is filled with longings and planning for the future and remorse and reflection about the past. The death of the daughter in the family, another relative’s passing is strong thread of this film reflected in the cutting of the fruit of the tree and of killing of insects, eating of meat and the type of conflict that this family faces.
The film sets out within this Vietnamese family to show an interdependence and how the martial tensions, and father-older-mother tension of these Vietnamese parents are affecting their three sons, their marriage and effects their troubles have on Mui and the head servant. Mui quickly learns she resembles the deceased daughter of the man, and happens to possess a happy, modest and beautiful disposition, which lands her a good home and life.
The obviously dark and ritual killing of insects by the middle son, shows the disfunction in the intimacy between the father and the mother and how the the anger is being distributed within the family. This is contrasted by Mui keeping some crickets in a small cage and feeding them as they play. This has to do with the failed sexual tension between father and mother, grieving grandmother and in the formal upbringing of the boys.

The film is provocative and is strongly depicting hierarchy, the roles of men and woman and the weaving of their energies, lacks of reciprocity, lasting bonds, changes and separations, big challenges that we often do not consider in our modern lives.
The film shows these stark grave issues in a tender simple yet clear, typical to asian culture way, the fatherly, motherly and sisterly affection between the relationships in the film weaves them with Mui’s life and happy nature as a servant, intentionally incompletely albeit as she is assigned out of the family after 10 years of her service and brought onto the pianist’s household (a man she mets as a child) as a servant and her beauty, charm, charisma and sensuality destroy another woman’s life and pianist’s engagement when he falls in love with Mui.
This film is lovely in how we are being multicultural, vulnerable, strong, beautiful, mean, and human.

Categories
Culture & Art Ethnic Lore Feelings & Emotions Poetry

Your karmic view [Poem]

Your feelings are guiding you to experience each moment and all it offers. You may have many people look at something and experience it differently, because of their feelings towards it. Your karma and the tantric weave that is living you, makes for the circumstances that open or close your mind and heart to perceiving correctly each moment. When you put the clear reality ahead of fictional desiring, you uncover within yourself the feeling towards what is life for you. We all are intertwined in a cosmic design and working at our lives. Do you see how magical this is?

Categories
Dzogchen Feelings & Emotions Mahamudra Meditation

Understanding emotions

Disturbing emotions.

They happen to us all. Practice of meditation allows us to really understand the nature of our mind and to rest in emptiness. The more time and sincere effort we place on our practice more we get to experience the natural fruits of emptiness.

Every once in a while we face a disturbing event in life, may be we hear something on the news, or we read something in the paper. We discover that the natural compassion we have moves us towards helping those who are in need. When we are unable to help someone we experience suffering, and as a result of that difficult emotions.

There may be other occasions when we experience negative emotions, and it is good to know how to handle the challenges of emotional attachment.

Whether female or male it is important to understand our essential True nature as emptiness. Once we understand that, we can then appropriately direct our energy when dealing with disturbing emotions and suffering present.

Feelings are part of our life, being human means feeling many things throughout a day. A deep capacity to feel and be in touch with life, allows us to cultivate sensitivity to life’s issues and approach them with greater care and compassion.

Feelings are meant to be experienced and we need to learn to channel the energy of our emotions appropriately. A feeling of Love and Joy that we have in our hearts towards our family needs to be expressed and shared. It is a shared fuel that allows us to continue to grow and work together.

Disturbing emotions serve as tools to point us in the right direction.

We can see that throughout history emotions have also been used to manipulate and distort people. Inappropriate use of shame and guilt in certain cultures makes people feel timid and disempowered. When these feelings arise out of natural mind they point the practitioner to what needs to be corrected in a simple and graceful way.

We have to remember that it is our attachment and aversion to feelings and emotions that creates these problems and disturbances.

For example when we see injustice in the world, like abuse and violence done on women, instead of fighting back we can use this fire of crossed boundaries into bridging gaps that are lacking in education, and creating appropriate places to help women. We can teach women educated means to defend themselves without the use of violence, we can educate and show people ways and practical tools to relate most of all appropriately with their own body and with the bodies of other people.

We need to understand that due to karmic causes some people naturally are more inclined towards peace and others struggle with this. Compassion and Buddha Nature is an inborn quality of every human being.

When dealing with disturbing emotions we need to learn to understand that the emotional reaction and behaviour of people has to do with their capacity to rest in emptiness, and understand their own mental patterns.

Compassion is what arrises out of natural mind/emptiness. It leads to right action and naturally dissolves conflicts.

Rev. Dr. Sonam Wangmo