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The Third Wife

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Dir. Ash Mayfair | Vietnam. 2018. | 97 min | Drama | MA 15+

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.


“The Third Wife” presents a tableau of injustice — a male-dominated hierarchy that directly oppresses women and brings collateral misery to some men as well — from a perspective that feels both compassionate and detached. It’s too cool for melodrama and too pretty for politics

The New York Times

“… a finely detailed and quietly devastating tapestry where rare moments of genuine intimacy are intensely experienced.”

Screen Daily, Toronto Film Festival

“Gently dipping us into the long ago and far away past, Ash Mayfair’s directorial debut brings an intimate immediacy to the re-creation of rural Vietnam in the late 19th century. With “The Third Wife,” new talent Mayfair reclaims just a few of those silvery strands from the neglect of history and weaves them into a film so sensuous we can lose ourselves in it, but so vividly real we might also be able to find ourselves there”


“This is a lyrical film that never loses sight of barbaric elements underneath… Mayfair has done a fine job of opening a window on Vietnam’s history, with a view that resonates across all cultures.”

Film Ink

★★★★1/2 “Mayfair is looking at late 19th century Vietnam through the lens of #MeToo..
Ash Mayfair’s controversial feature is a hauntingly shot and moody affair that envelops the viewer from start to finish, commenting on patriarchal structure of today through the lens of 19th century Vietnam.”

The Reel Bits

★★★★ “The Third Wife is a striking, haunting and astoundingly beautiful directorial debut for Ash Mayfair. The story may delve into familiar territory as the story does venture into tropes and themes that are effective of the time the story is set as well as contemporary times — but Mayfair manages to hits her targets with seemingly effortless ease.”

The AUReview>

“Winner of the NETPAC Award at Toronto International Film Festival, Ash Mayfair’s exquisite debut The Third Wife focusses on a teenager in an arranged marriage in 19th century Vietnam who learns quickly about her world’s suffocating patriarchy.”

Australian Arts Review

The “sensuously elegant” (Screen International) and “gorgeously intimate” (Variety) debut feature, THE THIRD WIFE, follows the story of a young bride in late 19th century Vietnam. This “mesmerizing” (The Film Stage) tale of lost innocence and forbidden love opens in Australian Cinemas July 4.

NETPAC Award – Toronto IFF 2018
TVE – Another Look Award – San Sebastian IFF 2018
Special Mention – Milano FF 2018
Gold Hugo (New Directors Competition) – Chicago IFF 2018
Special Jury Award (Main Feature Film Competition) –
Minsk IFF Listapad 2018
Best Film – Kolkata IFF 2018
Best Artistic Contribution – Cairo IFF 2018
Youth Jury Award COMUNDO – Fribourg IFF 2019
Narrative Feature Competition Winner – Sarasota FF 2019
Best Direction and Best Cinematography – ImagineIndia Film Festival 2019
Special Mention – Austin Asian American FF 2019
Special Mention – Bangkok ASEAN FF 2019
Special Mention – SANFIC Santiago IFF 2019
Honourable Mention – Split FF 2019
Best Film, Best Set and Costume Design – Waterloo Historical FF 2019


Toronto IFF 2018
San Sebastian IFF 2018
Vancouver IFF 2018
Milano FF 2018
Namur International Francophone FF 2018
Busan IFF 2018
Chicago IFF 2018
Warsaw FF 2018
Sao Paulo IFF 2018
QCinema IFF 2018
Denver FF 2018
Asian FF Barcelona 2018
Minsk IFF Listapad 2018
Hong Kong Asian FF 2018
San Diego Asian FF 2018
Films from the South Festival 2018
Hawaii IFF 2018
Taipei Golden Horse FF 2018
Brasília IFF 2018
Kolkata IFF 2018
Black Nights FF 2018
Cairo IFF 2018
Around The World In 14 Films 2018
Singapore IFF 2018
Kerala IFF 2018
Hainan IFF 2018
Chennai IFF 2018
Palm Springs IFF 2019
Göteborg FF 2019
Bengaluru IFF 2019
Belgrade IFF 2019
Vienna International Women’s FF (FrauenFilmTage) 2019
Borderlines FF 2019
Kosmorama IFF 2019
CinemAsia FF 2019
Luxembourg City FF 2019
Fribourg IFF 2019
Prague IFF – Febiofest 2019
International Women’s FF of Créteil 2019
Belfast IFF 2019
Costa Rica IFF 2019
IFEMA International Female FF 2019
Istanbul IFF 2019
Ankara IFF 2019
Caravan “Between Women Filmmakers” in Lebanon 2019
5 Continents FF 2019
Seattle IFF 2019
Transilvania IFF Cluj 2019
Sydney IFF 2019
Ici Vietnam Festival 2019
Bangkok ASEAN FF 2019
Roffa Mon Amour FF 2019
New Zealand IFF 2019
Jerusalem FF 2019
Film and Art Festival TWO RIVERSIDES 2019
Locarno FF Open Days 2019
SANFIC Santiago IFF 2019
“Cine a la Vista” International Teenagers FF 2019
Split FF 2019
Everybody’s Perfect FF 2019
World Film Days Thusis 2019
Guwahati International FF 2019
Braunschweig IFF 2019
LGBT El Lugar Sin Límites 2019
Halmstad Ciné Club 2019


  • Still from The Third Wife
  • Still from The Third Wife
  • Still from The Third Wife
  • Still from The Third Wife