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The Lover (1992)

L'amant (original title)
0:58 | Trailer

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In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.


(based on the novel), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
4,879 ( 478)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
The Mother
Arnaud Giovaninetti ...
The Younger Brother
Helene Lagonelle
Xiem Mang ...
The Chinaman's Father
Philippe Le Dem ...
The French Teacher
Ann Schaufuss ...
Anne-Marie Stretter
Quach Van An ...
The Driver
Tania Torrens ...
The Principal
Raymonde Heudeline ...
The Writer (end)
Yvonne Wingerter ...
The Writer (beginning)
Do Minh Vien ...
The Young Boy
Hélène Patarot ...
The Assistant Mistress


It is French Colonial Vietnam in 1929. A young French girl from a family that is having some monetary difficulties is returning to boarding school. She is alone on public transportation when she catches the eye of a wealthy Chinese businessman. He offers her a ride into town in the back of his chauffeured sedan, and sparks fly. Can the torrid affair that ensues between them overcome the class restrictions and social mores of that time? Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras. Written by Cal Lott <cal.lott@gsb.uchicago.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


She gave her innocence, her passion, her body. The one thing she couldn't give was her love.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R on appeal for graphic and explicit sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

30 October 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lover  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$181,147, 30 October 1992, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated) | (unrated)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film did surprisely well in the United States home video market; according to Video Store Magazine, this film earned 113.2% return on investment (ROI) in its first 120 days of home video release. See more »


Her lover smokes filtered cigarettes in 1929. They were not invented until the mid-'30s and not in common use until the 1950s. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Very early in my life, it was too late. At eighteen it was already too late. At eighteen I aged. This aging was brutal. This aging, I saw it spread over my features, one by one. Instead of being frightened by it, I saw this aging of my face with the same sort of interest I might have taken for example in the reading of a book. That new face I kept it. It's kept the same contours, but its matter is destroyed. I have a destroyed face. Let me tell you again: I'm fifteen and a half. ...
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Featured in The Rainmaker (1997) See more »


Waltz in B minor Opus 69 No. 2
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Chopin)
Performed by Howard Shelley
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User Reviews

sex blinds you and you do not see the film
25 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

L'Amant is a very beautiful, haunting and sensual film. The characters are perfect and acted in a minimalist way that's refreshing.

I see here that the main objections to this film are: 1 .. Not enough character development 2 .. The film does not have a clear direction to where it's going 3 .. Too slow 4 .. Too much sex (for some people if a film has explicit sex it can't be good)

All these objections are pointless:

1 .. The characters here are ordinary people, not that interesting by themselves. It's the love story that's interesting. Both of them know they have no future and try to pretend it's not love. I am sick of films in which the characters are sure they love each other after 30 minutes of "character development".

2 .. The fact that this film does not follow a clear path it's one of it's qualities. It adds more drama and the characters themselves are confused and don't know where they're going. The whole film plays like a dream of love and to request "clear direction" it's pointless.

3 .. Ahh! The "too slow" argument. There are films in this world that make you think about you, your life and the world that's around you. Surely you need some TIME to reflect on that. Short attention-span is a bad thing :).

4 .. This film is about love. The fact that they are shown having sex makes them real persons, with real bodies not some film characters. Sex is an escape from the world around them and I don't think it's too much, too explicit or some nonsense like that. It's so hard to have a film with sex it it that's not trivial! This is a masterpiece by this fact alone.

The persons who "though up" these arguments took the main strengths of the film and complained about them. This for me it's proof enough that they didn't understand this film or that the film didn't struck a single chord in their soul. Short attention span is the main plague of films now and the lack of it is the reason the french make such great films! Please try to see it again and not in a hurry. It's not light cinema! It's great cinema!

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