11 February 2007 | lqualls-dchin
Fondly remembered jewel-of-the-mekong
This movie hasn't been around in decades, and i was only a child when i saw it, yet it has stayed in my memory as few other movies have. I remember that it was shot on location in Southeast Asia, and that the wide-screen color imagery just seemed so exotic, humid and slightly decaying. The close relationship of the two "teenagers" (Anthony Perkins and Silvana Mangano) seemed disturbing and poignant. Am i correct in remembering a scene where Mangano dances to excite a potential boyfriend, while Perkins watches, consumed with jealousy? Jo Van Fleet as their beleaguered mother, with her exhaustion and her sudden rages, seems like the third panel in the triptych of Van Fleet's "aging women" roles (the other two are in EAST OF EDEN and in WILD RIVER). I also remember Alida Valli as the sophisticated woman (does she have some sort of limo?) who gets involved with Perkins.
I've read the novel by Duras, which i love, but i haven't seen this movie since its first release, when my (twin) sister and i were taken to it by our grandmother. We were excited because there were very few movies which seemed to be about twin siblings (i didn't realize that the characters weren't supposed to be twins until i read the novel a few years later). The relationship between Perkins and Mangano did seem to be especially close. I also have no idea where this movie is: there hasn't been a public screening of this movie in the US in almost 50 years! (If there has been, i'm ready to be informed of that fact.)