This Trailer Thursday selection is one whose full-length counterpart I’d like to revisit on the podcast someday. Cyclo is the second feature of Anh Hung Tran who, at the time, was riding high after his The Scent of Green Papaya had garnered a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination among other accolades. The two films share similar themes of younger people moving from the country to Ho Chi Minh City. However, whereas The Scent of Green Papaya is a Cinderella story of sorts, Cyclo looks at the darker side of trying to “make it” in the big city.
Having seen this film in a U.S. theater, I do not remember whether there was a theatrical trailer or not, so I’m posting the Hong Kong version instead. I’m actually not even sure if this is a theatrical trailer either since this is not appear to have the typical text or credits that Hong Kong trailers have.
With that said, this trailer actually feels like two trailers seamed together. The first part (0:00 – 1:03), in fact, seems like a Youtube fan video with Radiohead’s breakout 1992 hit “Creep” playing in the foreground with a collage of some of the film’s more powerful imagery. The song was licensed for the film and indeed appears in one of several quietly tense scenes with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. Perhaps, someone behind production figured that they should make full use of the music since it already been licensed.
The second half is more typical trailer, with the percussive soundtrack taking a more subdued role in yet another collage of scenes. The common theme in this section is liquid: Nu Yen-Khe Tran’s drinking from a water bottle in what appears to be some sort of initiation rite, scenes involving paint being spread on bodies, and one scene shot horizontally in which protagonist Le Van Loc dunks his head into an aquarium, then which later in the trailer to a vertical shot of him removing his head from the aquarium. The trailer ends likewise with liquid, the bathing of Tran’s face by Leung, recalling a baptism scene and perhaps a chance at salvation.