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The Third Wife

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Amy Chen
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The Third Wife

The Third Wife is a Vietnamese directed and produced film that I viewed during the Outfest film festival. Set in 19th century rural Vietnam,a 14 year old girl become the third wife of a wealthy landowner. The film delves into the dark, jealousy ridden competition between the first wife who struggles to bear children and the thrid wife's first pregnancy. Being a young teenager, the third wife goes through a period of sexual exploration and uncertainty. She finds herself atttracted to the second wife who is sensual and takes care of her during her times of need. 

The director, Ash Mayfair, was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She made a film focused on women in a male dominated society. The relationships between the women were complex and intimate at times. The third wife has a baby and struggles to assume the role as a mother at such a young age.

After watching the film, I left the theater feeling how women in Vietnam were isolated in their own world with responsibilities as wife, sister wife, daughter, and mother. At this particular home, the women had to spin sillk from silkworms, make food, and clean daily. Even the servants who were women helped with child rearing. Much has advanced for women since then but so much more still needs to change. 

Linda Gonzales Diaz
Topic replies: 33
Topic Posts: 3
The Third Wife

Hi Amy, this sounds like a really intersting film.  I think I will check it out. I agree with you that much has advanced for women in some places and in some ways. However, much more does need to change. I think this is a theme we see around the globe. We see it here in the U.S., even as 'advanced' as we like to think of ourselves. Women are still making less than men, women are still picking up more than half of the housework and child rearing chores. Women usually bear 90% of the mental load of the home that includes appointments, the eternal question, "what's for dinner", who needs clean laundry, etc.