The Third Wife
Vietnam. 96 min. 2018
In 19th century rural Vietnam, 14-year-old May becomes the third wife of wealthy landowner Hung. Soon she learns that she can only gain status by asserting herself as a woman who can give birth to a male child. May’s hope to change her status turns into a real and tantalizing possibility when she gets pregnant. Faced with forbidden love and its devastating consequences, May finally comes to an understanding of the brutal truth: the options available to her are few and far between.
In her statement about her debut feature “The Third Wife”, director Ash Mayfair states two main reasons why she made the film and which topics it deals with. On the one hand, she names her upbringing in Vietnam, most importantly the women in her life who have supported her through the years. Given her career, which has led her to a degree in English Literature and one in Theater Directing from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, large parts of her biography have taken place outside her home country. Yet, as her statement and the nature of “The Third Wife” prove, she has returned there for her directorial debut paying homage to the women who have been most important in her life.
Ash Mayfair was born and raised in Vietnam, and received her MFA in filmmaking from NYU. Her short films — including “The Silver Man” and “No Exit” — have been screened at numerous international film festivals. “The Third Wife” is Mayfair’s first feature film, and the screenplay won the Spike Lee Production Fund in 2014.
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