An Indispensable of Asian Cinema: The Scent of Green Papaya | 青いパパイヤの香り

With the entire world’s cinema a touch away from a screen, it’s incredibly easy to surf through the multitude of movies ever created. The variety and access to all genres are definitely a source of overwhelm, though, and Hollywood’s fluff often overlooks the films that actually matter. The Scent of Green Papaya, a movie directed by the illustrious Tran Anh Hung, is a gem of a film that should be treasured and watched over again and again. 

インターネットの普及によって世界の映画を見ることができるようになった。これまで聞いたこともなかったジャンルにも気軽に触れることができるが、ハリウッドは重要視されるべき映画を見落とすことも。今回紹介する “The Scent of Green Papaya(青いパパイヤの香り)” は、ベトナム戦争後にフランスに移住したトラン・アン・ユン監督の作品である。より注目されるべき理由をこれから話していこう。

Taking place in Saigon, Vietnam, during the 1950s, the film brings us back to a pre-war era full of serenity, greenery, and stillness. It stars Mùi, a young girl who gets hired into a wealthy family as a servant. As she learns to cook fresh vegetables, clean, and observe the sons of the household, she bonds with the tranquility of the nature surrounding her, as well as the maternal figures who have been deserted by their husbands. The second part of the movie sees her fully grown into a gracious young woman, this time hired as a maid in the home of a prosperous musician. Romantic tensions arise between them, like the soft but sturdy web of a spider, sensual but knotty. 


Though the story may seem snooze-worthy, The Scent of Green Papaya is pure enrichment. This ephemeral time leap back to Vietnam has something considerably familiar and nostalgic, and one glimpse of the movie feels like a jump into the tropical weather of this jade-colored country. Far from the Western eye of Orientalism, Tran Anh Hung presents a true-toned movie. 

ただ恋に落ちていくだけのつまらない映画に思えるが、The Scent of Green Papayaは純粋な気持ちにさせてくれる。この頃の映画といえば、欧米視点のアジアが描かれているものが多かったが、ベトナムをルーツにもつトラン・アン・ユン目線でのベトナムが演出されているのだ。そのため、当時のベトナム特有のノスタルジックな世界に入ることができる。

Virtues like patience, tenderness, and inner peace are disguised in the storyline of this Vietnam unknown to many. The placid day-to-day activities of The Scent of the Green Papaya remind us of the fragility of the present, as well as the forgiveness of informality. This movie has rightfully won multiple awards, notably a Cannes and a César award, for its masterful cinematography. 

忍耐、優しさ、インナーピースなどといったキーワードが隠されているこの映画。穏やかな日々を映し出している映像によって、現代のもろさや堅苦しさなどがより引き立って感じてしまう。The Scent of Green Papayaはカンヌ映画祭やセザール賞など数々の受賞を果たしている。

The Scent of Green Papaya feels like the humid breeze of summer embracing your nape, and regardless of if you know anything about Vietnam’s history, this is one of the most memorable and touching films out there. 


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