The Third Wife

Directed by Ash Mayfair
Film Movement
2018
96 Minutes
Vietnam
Vietnamese
Drama
R

In 19th century rural Vietnam, 14-year-old May becomes the third wife of wealthy landowner Hung. Soon she learns that she can only gain status by asserting herself as a woman who can give birth to a male child. May’s hope to change her status turns into a real and tantalizing possibility when she gets pregnant. Faced with forbidden love and its devastating consequences, May finally comes to an understanding of the brutal truth: the options available to her are few and far between.

Director & Cast

Trailer

Photos

Reviews

  • "Ash Mayfair’s supremely atmospheric feature debut explores repressed desires against the resplendent but emotionally suffocating landscape of late-19th century rural Vietnam. Telling the story of a young girl who enters an arranged marriage to a landowner, The Third Wife echoes the ravishing art-house triumphs of Tran Anh Hung, who serves here as an ‘artistic advisor’, while his wife and frequent collaborator Tran Nu Yen Khe plays one of the principal roles. Yet Mayfair acquits herself in such confident fashion that her sensuously elegant drama isn’t at all hindered by the inevitable comparisons."
    John Berra, Screen Daily
  • "Debut director Ash Mayfair delivers a gorgeously intimate, evocative, and melancholy story of female subjugation in 19th-century Vietnam. [B]y focusing with unwavering empathy on the interior life of teenage bride May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My), the remarkable “The Third Wife” feels newborn and ineffably modern. Winner of prizes at both the San Sebastian and Toronto festivals, this is the rare debut that derives its freshness not from inexperience but from a balance between compassion and restraint that most filmmakers take decades to achieve."
    Jessica Kiang, Variety
  • "...aesthetically entrancing...sensitively poetic...."
    Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
  • "The visuals are key to Mayfair's success, with dialogue often kept to the minimum in favour of looks - alone or shared - that offer a window into the wives' psyches. The use of colour by Mayfair and her cinematographer Chananun Chotrungroj (Hotel Mist, Pop Aye) - mainly pastels with pops of red and yellow - also recalls the mastery displayed by Zhang Yimou in his early consideration of multiple marriages, Raise The Red Lantern. Mayfair treats her scenes of sex and desire with restraint, using juxtaposition to evoke mood...."
    Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
  • "The Third Wife holds our unbroken concentration for its duration, its elegiac reverence capturing our attention with its contextually heavy pans and gorgeous frames deftly telling us where to look through sheer compositional perfection. We’re watching a world crumbling under the weight of its expectations as the prisoners within discover what matters most at the cost of innocence. It’s a mesmerizing look behind a curtain torn away so Mayfair can reveal an authenticity too often masked by historical precedent and conservative acquiescence. Love is created in rebellion, but ultimately stifled by the need for survival."
    Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
  • "This is Ash Mayfair’s first feature film and a personal story loosely based on the life of her great-grandmother. She expertly explores the subservience of women in Vietnamese and Asian cultures. Visually, The Third Wife comes off as a wonderful painting. Director of Photography Chananun Chotrungroj beautifully captures rural Vietnam, and the sets are authentic amazing."
    Alan Ng, Film Threat
  • "Writer-director Ash Mayfair’s debut feature—about a 14-year-old girl, May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My), who is married off to much older rich man in 19th-century Vietnam—is a work of quiet empathy that skillfully depicts the harsh limits of the title character’s existence without ever reveling in her despair."
    Mallory Andrews, Cinema Scope

Now Playing

Denver Film Festival Denver CO October 31, 2018 November 11, 2018
Virginia Film Festival Charlottesville VA November 1, 2018 November 4, 2018
Hawaii International Film Festival Honolulu HI November 8, 2018 November 18, 2018
San Diego Asian Film Festival San Diego CA November 8, 2018 November 17, 2018
Palm Springs International Film Festival Palm Springs CA January 3, 2019 January 14, 2019
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Santa Barbara CA January 31, 2019 February 3, 2019
Victoria Film Festival Victoria BC February 1, 2019 February 10, 2019
Railroad Square Cinema Waterville ME February 16, 2019 February 19, 2019
Outfest - Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Los Angeles CA March 1, 2019 March 6, 2019
FilmScene Iowa City IA March 4, 2019 March 4, 2019
Cinequest Film Festival San Jose CA March 5, 2019 March 17, 2019
Cleveland International Film Festival Cleveland OH March 27, 2019 April 7, 2019
Minneapolis/SP International Film Festival Minneapolis MN April 4, 2019 April 20, 2019
Sarasota Film Festival Sarasota FL April 5, 2019 April 14, 2019
Filmfest DC - Washington DC International Film Festival Washington DC April 25, 2019 May 5, 2019
Sudbury Indie Cinema Sudbury ON May 9, 2019 May 15, 2019
Film Forum New York NY May 15, 2019 May 29, 2019
Regal Cinemas Garden Grove 16 Garden Grove CA May 24, 2019 May 30, 2019
Laemmle's Playhouse 7 Pasadena CA May 24, 2019 May 30, 2019
Laemmle Royal Los Angeles CA May 24, 2019 May 30, 2019
Regency Westminster 10 Westminster CA May 24, 2019 May 31, 2019
Pruneyard Cinemas Campbell CA May 31, 2019 June 6, 2019
Rialto Cinema Elmwood Berkeley CA May 31, 2019 June 6, 2019
4-Star Theatre San Francisco CA May 31, 2019 June 6, 2019
Gene Siskel Film Center Chicago IL May 31, 2019 June 6, 2019
Cinemark Memorial City Houston TX May 31, 2019 June 6, 2019
The Broad New Orleans LA June 7, 2019 June 14, 2019
Living Room Boca Boca Raton FL June 7, 2019 June 13, 2019
Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center Lincoln NE June 7, 2019 June 13, 2019
Living Room Theater Portland OR June 7, 2019 June 13, 2019
Real Art Ways Hartford CT June 7, 2019 June 13, 2019
Cane Fire Film Series Lafayette LA June 10, 2019 June 16, 2019
The Flicks Boise ID June 14, 2019 June 21, 2019
Palace Theater Chattanooga TN June 19, 2019 June 23, 2019
ByTowne Cinemas Ottawa ON June 21, 2019 June 27, 2019
Ken Cinema San Diego CA June 21, 2019 June 28, 2019
Landmark Lagoon Cinema Minneapolis MN June 28, 2019 July 4, 2019
Landmark E Street Cinema Washington DC June 28, 2019 July 4, 2019
Landmark Kendall Square Cinema Cambridge MA July 5, 2019 July 12, 2019
SIFF Cinema Uptown Seattle WA July 26, 2019 July 28, 2019
2019 Film Movement, All Rights Reserved