The spirit of a liberated humanity is beautifully reflected in the film "The botanist’s daughters" carried out by the director(Dai sijie) Doi tu kiet. All self conflict and rules in each human condition seem to vanish, and yielding to the deepest aspiration for affection and love.
The history begins peacefully with the river flow in the morning and ends quietly where it has started. The life’s course keeps running silently, without a trace of turmoil.
We sense an irony from the director’s point of view, through his subtle message about the captured bird in the cage, but kept praising the "great Mao comrade". We are charmed by the character of Min, that orphan girl who came to start her internship in the rural domain, under a supervision of an old professor, whose aristocratic life style was still present but unconsciously, and that such inner conflict has made him an irritable person to live with. The unwinding of the story took place in a beautiful and romantic garden where nature will be witness to a dramatic consequence of a true love.
Once settled down at the new place for her work, Min fell in love with the botanist’s daughter. It might be a true love for Min as Ly-An, a girl whose strong feelings expressed a passionate attach to her partner. However, in the beginning of the 80’s, drastic morality and principles represented an unbeatable obstacle, as love at the same sex stayed always a desperate impasse for the lovers to overcome.
Their love was so strong that Min had to reject her husband’s marriage, whom was also her lover’s brother. Their relationship had disturbed the peaceful life in the garden. A quiet revolution had started then among three individuals. Yet, their last passionate act of love had led to a crime, causing the sentence of their own death. The lovers accepted the verdict as they found a sublime way to be with each other eternally in time and space, like the release of the doves back to the immense sky, a symbol of the utmost freedom for true love.
The lovers were truly liberated of all human rules and principles when their ashes were spread on the passive river, where no judgment would be made besides of themselves.
According to the press meeting combined with the crew’s information, the present film is written and prepared before the story of "Balzac and the tailor". But censure resulting from that previous work of art had slow down all filming process. Then the crew obtained the authorization of starting the filming in the North of Vietnam, where the beautiful and romantic setting had helped the director to achieve his dream. Even the lead actress in the movie had admitted to me that "the landscape in Vietnam was wonderful".
The movie "The botanist’s daughters" written in France, achieved in Canada and filmed in VN had won 3 prizes during the world competition this year on 30th Montreal World Films Festival.
La Toan Vinh IWA
International Writers & Artists Association