Three Seasons

Three Seasons was the the winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award of the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.

With sweeping directorial vision and a powerfully poetic narrative, Toni Bui has created an impressive feature debut about the “new” Vietnam. Interweaving three stories into a striking pictorial tapestry, Three Seasons contrasts the traditional with the modern in a country caught in the chaotic throes of transition.

The protagonists are four ordinary people, living almost as strangers in their own land: a young girl hired to aid a recluse spiritual master; a cyclo driver who becomes obsessed with a proud prostitute; a young boy hustling lighters and cheap watches; and an American Vietnam vet searching for the daughter he has never seen.

What ensue are images of people struggling to find both place and meaning in a nation which won the war, but is now battling to regain its soul. Intensely lyrical, Three Seasons is beautifully filmed by Lisa Rinzler, who won the 1999 Sundance cinematography award for her work.

The first American film to be entirely shot in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam since the war, the film boasts a remarkable Vietnamese cast and an emotionally evocative performance by indie icon Harvey Keitel (who's also the picture's executive producer). Winner of the 1999 Grand Jury prize and Audience Award, there is no doubt that Three Seasons represents the best of American independent cinema of the 1990s.

Toni Bui, 26, graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angels. His short, “Yellow Lotus,” screened at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and won awards in numerous international festivals, including the Samuel Z. Arkoff Award and a Rockefeller nomination. Three Seasons, which was selected for the 1996 Sundance Screenwriters and Filmmakers Labs, was produced by Open City Films in 1997-1998.