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The Sea Wall Review

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A widow living on her estate on '30s Indochina must deal with a threat to her lands and her children's challenging life-choices.

★★★★★

While much of the plot revolves around her fiery son, Gaspard Ulliel, and precocious daughter, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Isabelle Huppert’s strident mother dominates this take on Marguerite Duras’ novel. Set in ’30s Indochina, her civil servant’s widow must deal with her problematic offspring while defending her lands from corrupt French bureaucrats and scheming Asian tycoons.

Director Rithy Panh exploits the Prey Nup locations to convey the tensions between the population and their imperial masters, with Huppert’s misjudgement of playboy Randal Douc sharpening the political edge as her naive superiority finds a match in his contemptuous chauvinism.

Decent performances and beautiful scenery make this re-imagining of Marguerite Duras' novel well worth a viewing.

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