Skip to main content

VIVE L'AMOUR

Taiwan, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Tsai Ming-liang

Few recent Films have divided audiences and excited debate like Vive L'Amour, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice last year. Despite the romantic title, the film is about lack of love and fulfilment in the overworked 1980s. But what sends its supporters out of the cinema on a high is its daring use of film language. Without any music and very little dialogue writer-director Tsai Ming-ling depends on his years of screen-writing experience to keep us engaged at all times. But for some, he goes too far and the result is too severe.

Yang Kusi-Mei from Ang Lee's Eat, Drink Man Woman enters leanne Moreau territory here. She gives the performance of a lifetime as a real estate agent d'un certain age who uses her empty apartments for quick sex. Spare keys fall into the hands of a lover and another young man unsure of his sexuality, and all three end up using the one space.

Vive L'Amour is a hyper-realist film that drops all the manipulative devices of film drama. But it is also highly symbolic. In fact, few people in Taipei reaily live alone, and so the empty apartments which are a feature of Taipei's speculative con­struction boom express character psychology, as does the remarkable barren parkland which fea­tures at the close of this instant classic.

See also...

GOODBYE, DRAGON INN

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Bu San) TaiwanAs rain buckets down outside a cavernous cinema, inside a screening of the 1966 classic Dragon Inn heralds the closure of this run-down movie palace. The audience ... More »

CONFUCIAN CONFUSION, A

"Sleek, chic and hysterical, the film owes more to Preston Sturges than Michelangelo Antonioni." - Cinematheque Ontario ... Set over a couple of frenetic days in a Taipei entertainment corporation, A ... More »

A BORROWED LIFE

... ... Too often, children only understand their par­ents when it's all too late. First time director Wu Nien-jen was long established as Taiwan's top screenwriter before being moved to make ... More »

RED LOTUS SOCIETY

... ... From TV talk show ritual to rock stardom dreams, pop culture is the site for magic and spirituality amidst today's soulless materialism. For teenage Ahda, son of a hilariously bad quack ... More »

WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW - SEEDIQ BALE: PART 2

“Spectacular... authentic feeling actioner recounting an aborigine rebellion in 1930s Taiwan.” - Hollywood Reporter ... Continuing the resplendently mythic visage of part 1, this conclusion to ... More »

A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY

... ... Edward Yang's long-awaited fourth feature is an independent production on an epic scale, a picture of Taiwan in 1960/61 as reflect­ed in the story of a teenage boy who kills a schoolgirl ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director