Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell review: Hypnotic and ethereal but extremely long and lost

Karishma Jangid
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Inside the yellow cocoon shell

The Vietnamese film 'Bên trong vỏ kén vàng' aka 'Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell' starring Lê Phong Vũ was screened at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023. 

To my immense shock, 'Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell,' the Vietnamese film that won the Caméra d'Or for the best first feature film, was unengaging. When Thiện's (Lê Phong Vũ) sister-in-law dies in an accident, he is left with her son Đạo (Nguyễn Thịnh). For the funeral, Thiện goes back to his ancestral village. He then starts to aimlessly wander to look for his brother Tam (Đạo's father) who had left years ago. 

The film is a gorgeous slow burn. The cinematography captures the rustic Vietnamese villages and the most mundane parts of life and nature in a hypnotic manner. Be it a kaleidoscope of butterflies, fish in a dirty bucket, or an abandoned building covered in moss, almost everything looks like a dream. Couple it with the extreme close-up shots of the lead actor's unreadable face and you have an aesthetic film at hand. The film is also very rich in symbolism. However, that's where my interest in the film ended.

The 182-minute-long film is painfully slow for a movie and does not have a lot to tell. There are mostly conversations about spirituality and the meaning of life, that might or might not be for everyone. Lê Phong Vũ's acting is decent. Had he shown more emotions, maybe I could have related to him and the film more. However, it seems like the film is only for those who love extremely slow cinema and existential discussions. 

Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell had its Indian premiere at Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival!

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Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell Jio MAMI