Feasts: Vertical Ray Of The
Sun & Tortilla Soup
attention is paid to food preparation in two delicious new movies.
French-Vietnamese filmmakerís Tran Anh Hungís The Vertical
Ray of the Sun, shot in Hanoi, is a Chekovian-like tale of
three sisters Lien (Tran Nu Yen-Khe), Suong (Nguyen Nhu Quynh),
and Khanh (Le Khanh). To honor the death of their mother, the
family gathers at the cafe run by Suong and prepares a traditional
meal. The event causes the sisters to reflect upon and idealize
their parentís long and loving marriage (their father died a month
after their mother) as well a mysterious man Toan. Was he their
In lush, subtropical settings, the tricky relationships between
men and women are very much on the sistersí minds. Who is faithful,
who is not? Is it okay to take lover? Or to love your brother
perhaps a bit too much? The movie is slow and poetic. Each scene
is composed with delicate beauty like series of lovely tableaux.
A most intriguing aspect of this story is Tranís ethereal vision
of Hanoi as an unhur-
ried tropical paradise full of cafes where friends meet for tasty
tidbits in the afternoon.
Directed by Maria Ripoli, Tortilla Soup, opening late August,
is the delectable retelling of the Chinese-language Eat Drink
Man Woman, as a Hispanic American comedy. With Hector Elizondo
(Pretty Woman), as a famous Los Angeles chef, Martin Naranjo,
and his three divergent daughters, who bring their problems to
his magnificent Sunday meals. Not overly spicy, their story is
stirred with liberal dashes of Latin music.
Big changes are brewing when daughter Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors,
Six Days, Seven Nights), who shares her dadís flair for
cooking, announces a corporate job will relocate her to Barcelona.
But each siblingís problems simmer in conversations at these Sunday
Vertical Ray of the Sun: 112 minutes, in Vietnamese with English
subtitles, PG-13, Sony Pictures Classics; Tortilla Soup:
100 minutes, PG 13, Samuel Goldwyn Films)
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