Film Screening: "Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell" (Phạm Thiên Ân, 2023)
Winner of the Camera d'Or for best first film at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival
INSIDE THE YELLOW COCOON SHELL is a reverie on faith, loss, and nature expressed with uncommon invention and depth. It's a simple tale told with visual complexity: after a car accident claims the life of his sister-in-law and leaves his 5-year-old nephew an orphan, a thirty-something man named Thien (Le Phong Vu) leaves Saigon for a trip back to his rural hometown.
During his meditative, wandering visit, Thien wrestles with his own agnosticism in the face of others' religious beliefs, summons memories of his long-disappeared brother, and reconnects with a former girlfriend who now lives as a nun at a Christian church and school.
With its drifting camera, evocative use of natural light, and gratifying perambulatory nature, this is a film with the power to readjust one's perceptions of the world around us.
"Exquisite... casts an unshakeable spell. Invites comparisons to such titans as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tsai Ming-liang and even Theo Angelopoulos, without feeling derivative of any." - Guy Lodge, Variety
"Provocative, absorbing and mysterious. Defined by visual splendor and a complex questioning of faith." - Allan Hunter, Screen
"A spellbinding tale of the soul's unfathomable desire for the other-worldly. Pham has certainly found his own divine calling with filmmaking." - Josh Slater-Williams, Indiewire