L'Arbre aux papillons d'or, de Pham Thien An

5 min

Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell : a feature film supported by Aide aux cinémas du monde and rewarded in Cannes

With Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, Pham Thien An reveals himself as a talent to watch in a sensory and spellbinding journey through the Vietnamese countryside. In this itinerary of a character in search of his family, he deploys boldness and sensitivity to create an astonishing cinematic object, which won the Caméra d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. 

Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell is supported by the Aide aux cinémas du monde programme, co-managed by the Institut français and the CNC. 

© Nour Films

An early revelation

Vietnamese director and screenwriter Pham Thien An holds a degree in information technology. It was at the end of his studies that he gradually became aware of his interest in cinema and filmmaking. His first short film, The Mute, was rapidly selected for a number of festivals, and his latest, Stay Awake, Be Ready, won major prizes, including the Illy prize at the Quinzaine des cinéastes. It has also been screened at festivals including Clermont-Ferrand, Locarno Open Doors and Busan. In 2023, he was selected for the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival for Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, his first feature film, where it won the Caméra d'Or. 


A journey of initiation through the Vietnamese countryside

Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell tells the story of Thien, who finds himself in charge of bringing the remains of his sister-in-law back to their home village after she dies in a motorbike accident in Saigon. He is travelling with his five-year-old nephew Dao, who miraculously survived the accident. Set in the mystical landscapes of the Vietnamese countryside, Thien sets out to find his older brother, Dao's father, who disappeared many years ago. It is a journey that will profoundly transform his relationship with his own faith. 


A bold and sensitive journey

In the tradition of contemporary Chinese filmmakers such as Bi Gan and Yang Heng, Pham Thien An blends fantasy with reality and the quest for enchantment with radicalism. Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell plays with temporalities through a labyrinth of the mind, where memories, feelings and dreams intertwine. In this journey through life, the main character embarks on a spiritual journey directed with boldness and relevance by a promising director. With its long still shots, the film shines with exaggerated sensitivity and poetry at every turn. 


A prestigious award at the Cannes Film Festival

Distributed by Nour Films, Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell was supported by Aide aux cinémas du monde. Presented in the Quinzaine des cinéastes at the last Cannes Festival, it won the Caméra d'Or, an award for the best first film of the festival across all categories. Previously selected in this category, Pham Thien An won the short film prize at the 2019 Quinzaine des Cinéastes for Stay Awake, Be Ready