Owl and the Sparrow | Chicago Reader

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A precocious young Vietnamese orphan (the engaging Pham Thi Han), sick of toiling away at her abusive uncle's factory, runs away to Saigon, where she befriends a sympathetic airline hostess and a zookeeper who's recently been dumped by his fiancee. This debut feature by writer-director Stephane Gauger suffers from stretches of hackneyed dialogue, but it's redeemed by his fluid handheld camera work and the engaging sincerity of the three leads. Gauger's keen eye for the unrelenting bustle of Saigon reinforces the harshness of city life, but his trio's goodwill toward each other creates a kind of sanctuary. With Cat Ly and Le The Lu. In Vietnamese with subtitles. 99 min.

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