Three Seasons (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Three Seasons1999

Three Seasons (1999)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Three Seasons Photos

Movie Info

With sweeping directorial vision and a powerful poetic narrative, Tony Bui has created an enormously impressive feature debut about the "new" Vietnam. Weaving three stories (really four) into a striking pictorial tapestry, Three Seasons contrasts the traditional to the modern in a nation in the chaotic throes of transition. We meet four ordinary people living almost as strangers in their own land: a young girl hired to aid a reclusive spiritual master; a cyclo driver who becomes obsessed with a proud and ambitious prostitute; a very young boy hustling lighters, gum, and cheap watches from the case around his neck; and an American Vietnam vet searching for the daughter he has never seen. What ensues is images of lives struggling to find both place and meaning in a nation which won the war but may now be losing a piece of its soul. The rich diversity of American independent film is deepened this year by the Southeast Asian, melodramatic style of Bui's work. The usual hyperbole about craft and art can't describe the immense visual sensibility of this film. It's not an overstatement to say that more arresting lyrical beauty may not appear in another American film this year. As the first American film to be shot in Vietnam since the war, with a remarkable Vietnamese cast and emotionally provocative acting by the stalwart Harvey Keitel, Three Seasons achieves a pinnacle of excellence that is rare in filmmaking today.


Harvey Keitel
as James Hager
Tran Manh Cuong
as Teacher Dao
Diem Kieu
as Singing Lotus Woman
Minh Ngoc
as Truck Driver
Luong Doc Hung
as Man Who Chases Lan No. 1
Tran Duy Long
as Man Who Chases Lan No. 2
Bui Tuong Trac
as Man Who Buys Lotus Flowers
Huynh Kim Hong
as Woman on the Balcony
Michael Salamon
as Man Who Steals Case
Nguyen Van Son
as Shoeshine Boy
A. Lu
as Street Guardian No. 1
Hong Phu Quang
as Street Guardian No. 2
Duong Tan Dung
as Cyclo Race Promoter
Ho Kieng
as Restaurant Owner
Quang Hai Ngo
as Man in Taxi
Hong Khac Dao
as Parlor Manager
Oliver Thai
as Parlor Friend
Othello Khanh
as Phuong's Drunk Friend
Lola Guimond
as Phuong/Amerasian Daughter
Nguyen Thanh Son
as Cyclo Race Official
Nguyen Thi Ngoc
as Teacher Dao's Servant
Nguyen Thi Lien
as Grandmother
View All

Critic Reviews for Three Seasons

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (8)

To my eyes, the novelty and exoticism of the setting couldn't disguise the hackneyed situations and sentimentalized characters.

March 31, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The result may not reflect the Vietnam of reality, but it's as close to life as most romantic melodramas, which is probably the point.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Stronger in visual imagery than in ideas or characters, Bui's impressive feature debut, which is set in Vietnam, won the Sundance Film Festival jury and audience awards.

January 9, 2007 | Rating: B+


July 18, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

A light and lovely movie that satisfies, but goes away quickly.

April 11, 2003 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

An extraordinary cross-cultural masterpiece shining with incredible images, a keen sense of place, and a reverence for the incredible yearning of ordinary people.

March 4, 2002 | Full Review…

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