‘The Third Wife’ is a debut directorial venture by Ash Mayfair. It portrays rural Vietnam in the 19th century. The story unfolds through the perspective of a 14-year old girl called May. It is a quite, meticulously detailed reflection of the patriarchy and what it costs for a woman to live in such a dominating setup. Mayfair herself has penned the story too.
May is a delicate and calm girl who is married to a wealthy man when she is 14 year old. She is the third wife of the wealthy landlord. She is a quite witness to all the happenings in a patriarchal system. Women were just used as an instrument for sex and the upbringing of the next generation. Gradually, May understands that the only way she can earn social status is through giving birth to a male child. The movie indirectly mocks men who keep several wives.
The movie shows a female kid who loves to become a man and a young girl who dreams of giving birth to a boy. These are the only two options left for women to live respectfully in that society. However, May realizes that the options for a woman are few and she has to endure the sufferings of womanhood throughout her life. It is a poignant and devastating depiction of women who crave for love that is entirely different from sex. Most of the characters in the movie are women. The director tries to show the life of women of all ages, roles and responsibilities. It ends at a scene when a girl kid cuts her long, pretty hair happily so that she could become a man.
Each biological process is beautifully symbolized with different elements in nature. Sexual intercourse, pregnancy, labour and death are connected to nature. The aesthetic sense of the director was explicit in each shot as they were marvellous. Though every single actor in the film has performed excellently, Nguyen Phuong Tra My (May) has contributed a surreal feeling to the movie. ‘The Third Wife’ was an outstanding movie from Ash Mayfair. It was brilliant as a piece of art made up of many vibrant hues.