At The Height Of Summer review

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The third feature by acclaimed Vietnamese writer/director Tran Anh Hung (The Scent Of Green Papaya) revolves around three sisters who meet up on the anniversary of their mother's death in suburban Hanoi. Although the trio work together at the family-run café, each is keeping a secret from the others.

The eldest, Suong (Nguyen Nhu Quynh), a married mother, is having an affair. Meanwhile, the middle one, Khanh (Le Khanh), has yet to tell her sisters that she is pregnant, while the youngest, Lien (Tran Nu Yen-Khe) has been seeing an architecture student, Hai.

From its impeccably framed opening, in which Lien and Hai wake up to the strains of the Velvet Underground's Pale Blue Eyes, this announces itself as a film of languid beauty. Yet somehow the artiness feels suffocating: it's easier to be distracted by the designer outfits and the scenes of exotic food preparation than feel engrossed in the characters' dilemmas.

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