Synopsis by Michael Betzold
Vietnamese director Pauline Chan, known for short films, made her feature debut with this story about a woman living in colonial Indochina. Chan co-wrote the screenplay based on a novel, Dreamhouse, by Kate Grenville. The sexual and emotional awakening of Louise Duffield (Saskia Reeves) takes place against the backdrop of the Vietnamese people awakening to the possibilities of liberation. Duffield is a British photographer who comes to southeast Asia with her husband Michael (Robert Reynolds), an Australian journalist, to fashion an article for a French rubber manufacturer. Louise is emotionally starved in her marriage and feels slighted by playing second fiddle to her husband professionally. Michael discovers that the rubber company is mistreating its workers, and he is trapped between his compulsion to tell the truth and his desire to please his corporate bosses, who may give him a job at their Paris headquarters if he turns in a favorable story. Michael and Louise are staying at the home of a tyrannical French plantation boss, Daniel Renouard (Sami Frey), whose little empire is crumbling as the natives become increasingly restless. His daughter Viola (Jacqueline McKenzie) is rebelling against her abusive father and looking for adventure. She finds some with her new housemates soon enough.
danger, behind-enemy-lines, friendship, incest, journalism, photography