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Vive L'Amour (1994)

Cast: Yang Kuei-Mei, Yang Kuei-Mei, Lee Kang-Sheng, more...
Director: Tsai Ming-Liang, Tsai Ming-Liang
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Studio: Fox Lorber
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Taiwan
Running Time: 118 min.
Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This second film by prominent Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang is a brilliant portrayal of isolation and urban disillusionment in modern Taipei. The movie focuses on three lonely souls: Hsiao-kang, a gay salesman of crematorium niches who wanders the city on his scooter; Ah-jung, a handsome street hawker of counterfeit designer goods; and May Lin, a struggling real estate agent. Hsiao-kang sneaks into a vacant apartment with a stolen key, takes a bath, and tries to slash his wrists. Meanwhile, May picks up Ah-jung and enters the same flat for a late-night tryst. As the film progresses, each character goes through the tedium of their lives: May waits in empty houses for prospective clients; Ah-jung hawks his wares while avoiding the police, and Hsiao-kang places fliers in anonymous mailboxes. All three use the unoccupied apartment at various times for their own needs without realizing the presence of the others, until Hsiao-kang and Ah-jung run into each other. After they both flee the place when May arrives, they develop an odd sort of friendship. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Pretend this says something impish by DPenn October 27, 2004 - 9:26 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
What's the phrase I'm looking for --a film that rewards patience, or something like that? Certainly not for all tastes, Vive L'Amour is indeed slow-moving, but it wouldn't make sense otherwise.

Nearly all the plot is conveyed through visual cues. The film easily could have been released as a silent, but then we would have missed out on the amazing sound design, which displays a nuanced sense of rhythm and space -- also a strength of Tsai's weaker first feature, Rebels of the Neon God.

Another reviewer notes there's nothing exotic or erotic, but that's not even close to the point. The movie's about alienation and silence, and the ending, as simple as it is, is more heartbreaking than that of any overt tearjerker out there. The performances are pitched nearly perfectly, and, in terms of editing and pacing, the director here has found a relevant middle ground between narrative and 'experimental' devices.

I've begun watching Tsai's movies in chronological order without planning to (luck of the queue), and I'm looking forward to finding out where he went next.

Disappointing and dull by Tropicola October 21, 2002 - 12:25 PM PDT
3 out of 10 members found this review helpful
Oh dear... this movie is terribly unrewarding, especially if you're expecting something as good as "The Hole". Even the location shots reveal little insight into this movie, which is comprised of three shallow character studies. Unlike the recent spate of Iranian movies into which category this movie might fall, Vive L'Amour neither poses cinematic questions nor reveals anything about Taiwanese society. The filmmakers opt for the easy sparse atmosphere created by slowness, silence and prolonged inaction rather than construct scenarios from substance. It?s neither erotic nor exotic and quite frankly that doesn't leave much else to like.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.36)
42 Votes
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