The Vertical Ray of the Sun

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The Vertical Ray of the Sun
The Vertical Ray of the Sun.jpg
US Movie Poster
Directed by Tran Anh Hung
Produced by Christophe Rossignon
Written by Tran Anh Hung
Starring Tran Nu Yên-Khê
Nguyen Nhu Quynh
Le Khanh
Music by Tôn-Thất Tiết
Trịnh Công Sơn[1]
Cinematography Mark Lee Ping Bin
Edited by Mario Battistel
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
Release date
July 6, 2001
Running time
112 minutes
Country France
Language Vietnamese

The Vertical Ray of the Sun is the third feature film by Vietnamese-born French director Trần Anh Hùng. It was released in 2000 and is the final part of what many now consider to be Tran's "Vietnam trilogy."

The film centres on three sisters who live in present-day Hanoi: Suong is the eldest, then Khanh in the middle, and Lien is the youngest. The film takes place over the course of one month, starting on the anniversary of their mother's death and ending on the anniversary of their father's. Tran was inspired to make the film after visiting Hanoi during a break in the filming of Cyclo during the Christmas holidays in 1994.

This drama was lensed in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, as well as in Hạ Long Bay and the village of Luoi Ngoc, Quảng Ninh Province.

The film's original score is composed by Tôn-Thất Tiết. Additionally, three songs of the noted Vietnamese songwriter Trịnh Công Sơn are interspersed through the film, as are songs by The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Arab Strap, and The Married Monk.

The Vertical Ray of the Sun was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.[2]


On the anniversary of their mother's death, three sisters in contemporary Hanoi meet to prepare a memorial banquet. After the banquet, the calm exteriors of the sisters' lives begin to give way to more turbulent truths, which will affect their seemingly idyllic relationships. The eldest sister has a small boy nicknamed Little Mouse, and botanical photographer husband Quoc, who is prone to long absences from home. The middle sister has recently discovered that she is pregnant to her husband Kien, who is a writer suffering from writer's block. The flirtatious youngest sister constantly fantasises about being pregnant, and lives with her brother Hai, for whom she has a deep affection. With the brilliant Vietnamese summer as a setting Vertical Ray of the Sun is beautiful from beginning to end, a charming, slow-paced, face value, family saga film.


  • Tran Nu Yen Khe as Lien (Liên)
  • Nguyễn Như Quỳnh as Suong (Sương)
  • Le Khanh as Khanh (Khanh)
  • Ngo Quang Hai as Hai (Hải)
  • Chu Hung as Quoc (Quốc)
  • Tran Manh Cuong as Kien (Kiên)
  • Le Tuan Anh as Tuan (Tuấn)
  • Le Ngoc Dung as Huong (Hương)
  • Do Thi Hai Yen as Quoc's concubine

Alternate Titles[edit]

Vietnamese: Mùa hè chiều thẳng đứng

UK title: At the Height of Summer


  1. ^ "Cuối cùng cho một tình yêu", "Nắng thủy tinh", "Rừng xưa đã khép"
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Vertical Ray of the Sun". Retrieved 2009-10-13. 

External links[edit]