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Vive L'Amour

1994 [CHINESE]

Drama / Romance

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

1.05 GB
Chinese 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 56 min
P/S 27 / 104

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by zetes10 / 10

A masterpiece

I don't even know where to begin on Vive L'Amour. It is the second Tsai Ming-liang film I've seen, after The Hole. I doubted that it could be as good as The Hole, but it turned out to be an even better film. In fact, I'd say it's pretty close to perfect. The only thing I don't like about it is its American title - "Vive L'Amour" makes it sound like a romantic comedy starring Gerard Depardieu. This film is about love, but not in any conventional way.

I'd love to relate the plot of the film, but I think that'd ruin it quite a bit. Part of the fun of it is figuring out exactly what's going on. Those who like puzzle films will find the initial puzzle of Vive L'Amour very intriguing. Those who don't like slow-moving films should avoid it, though. A good benchmark: if you like Antonioni's films, especially L'Avventura, which is directly referenced in this film, you'll probably like it. Here's an intriguing fact about Vie L'Amour: there is not one piece of audible dialogue spoken until 21 minutes have gone by. One of the main characters does not speak until 49 minutes have passed. If you were to write out all the dialogue of the film, you could probably fit it on a single page. Tsai is simply audacious in his paucity of dialogue. And it could have easily seemed like little more than a stunt, but the characters still come off as fully developed and interesting people. The drama works wonders, and there is a lot of comedy, too. The film is also very erotic.

I really don't want to say another word about this film. I hope that any reader will have enjoyed or agreed with the numerous other reviews I have written to take my recommendation at face value. I have seen hundreds of great films, and Vive L'Amour is one of the best I have seen. Also, make sure to check out The Hole, which is also on Fox Lorber DVD. Fox Lorber has gotten a lot of undeserved criticism in the past. Their DVDs aren't always the best (they're no Criterion),but they're usually of great visual quality. They may have few extras, but extras are not always necessary. I would even suggest that Criterion sometimes stuffs their DVDs with unnecessary and low-quality material.

Reviewed by howard.schumann10 / 10

An honest and beautiful film

In Taipei, a middle-aged real estate agent, May Lin (Yang-kuei Mei),goes about her daily routine of putting up signs, inviting potential customers to an open house, then sitting and waiting for them in empty apartments as the hours drag by. Tsai Ming-liang's Vive L'Amour is an honest and beautiful film about three lonely people whose lives become inextricably bound in a chance encounter. Dialogue is minimal and no one speaks for the first twenty-five minutes, creating a pervasive tone of emotional numbness. Hsiao-kang (Kang-sheng Lee),a young gay man who sells wall space for burials, soon finds the key to an apartment being shown by May Lin and moves in, taking a bath, getting dressed, then almost matter of factly cutting his wrists with a pocket knife.

When May Lin meets Ah-jung (Chao-jung Chen) a slick street vendor of women's clothes during a lunch break, they coyly size each other up, then use the apartment for casual sex. Ah-jung, unaware of Hsiao-Kang's presence, takes the key from May Lin and also moves in. The characters live an existence surrounded by silence, unwilling or unable to reach out to each other, living in the empty spaces. They spend their time aimlessly, drinking beers, smoking cigarettes, and just watching the time pass without any apparent connection to the teeming city they live in. Ming-liang's camera views the characters from a distance, at times simply watching them for minutes at a time go through a period of silent suffering. One of the most heartbreaking scenes is when Hsiao-Kang hugs and kisses a watermelon as if it were the responsive companion he so desperately needs.

When May Lin comes to the apartment to rest, the two clandestine guests forge an alliance to avoid being seen. In an unforgettable sequence, Hsiao-Kang hides under the bed masturbating while May and Ah-jung make love directly on top. After May leaves, the young man crawls into bed with the sleeping Ah-jung and creeps his way inch by inch toward the sleeping man in a scene of heartbreaking loneliness and conflicted emotions. The film ends in a five-minute close up of one of the characters sitting alone in a newly-opened park that made me reflect on similar periods of loneliness in my own life. It also caused me to wonder if our modern cities have become little more than sanctuaries for the walking dead where everyone is a stranger, crossing paths in silence without a hint of recognition of a common humanity.

Reviewed by davidals9 / 10

Tsai Ming-liang's finest work

One of the best of Tsai Ming-liang's glacial case studies of contemporary isolation and alienation in Taipei/the world, VIVE L'AMOUR is gripping in spite of it's extreme slowness (his work shares this quality with Tarkovsky or Antonioni). Tsai's work is superficially very chilly and ultimately heartbreaking - though Tsai also (as always) manages to also sneak in a little deadpan humor, which in this case includes the rather ironic translated title.

Three young, outwardly successful Taiwanese happen to cross paths - unknowingly at first - in the empty Taipei condominium one (a real estate agent) is attempting to sell. Through a bare minimum in dialogue - VIVE L'AMOUR is essentially a silent film until about 20 minutes in - Tsai charts their isolation and fumbling attempts at various kinds of human connection and finding some personal sort of peace. Tsai's scenario and characters are globalized, stripped of most marks of identity, and very much adrift, and their growth (or lack of it) is communicated through sparse forms of acting, direction and cinematography that reinvents seemingly antiquated forms of film-making (again, silent film) into a new-millennial era. In this, Tsai crafts a sort of haunted, elegaic drama that slides around the limitations of language, inhabiting a dreamlike, if also very dark, psychological territory.

Typically Tsai uses no musical score, and the dialog is very sparse, with the film favoring the natural sound of whatever environment the characters find themselves in, so the many memorable scenes do tend to sneak up on you. The finale is unforgettable.

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