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The Lover (1992)
"L'amant" (original title)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  30 October 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 13,998 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 29 critic

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 »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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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 ...
Quach Van An ...
The Driver
Tania Torrens ...
The Principal
Raymonde Heudeline ...
The Writer (end)
Yvonne Wingerter ...
The Writer (beginning)
Do Minh Vien ...
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 Maugerite Duras. Written by Cal Lott <>

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


$4,899,194 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cécile Fleury said that she was the body double of Jane March for some nude scenes of this film. But the spokesman of Renn Productions (which produced this film) said to Daily Mail that Cécile Fleury was only a stand-in for technical purposes - a common practice to spare a film's stars from tiring sessions under studio lights while scenes are set up. "This girl was only used for lighting purposes when scenes were being set up. She has not been used in the shooting at all," the Renn Productions spokesman said. 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. ...
See more »


Spoofed in 92 Legendary La Rose Noire (1992) See more »


Waltz in B minor Opus 69 No. 2
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Chopin)
Performed by Howard Shelley
See more »

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User Reviews

One Image
2 June 2004 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

I continue to be amazed at what works in this huge experiment in the social imagination we call film.

One thing that really impresses me is how one image will stick in your mind. One image around which it seems the whole rest of the project revolves and supports. I usually write IMDb comments very soon after seeing or reseeing a film.

In this case, I was so struck by that one image I resolved to wait three months before commenting. It stuck.

That image is the one which is used in the promotion and presumably is what the filmmaker considers its essence: the 15 year old girl in defiantly non-school clothes with an incongruous man's hat on the ferry. She is observing and consciously observed. It is we who observe her and enjoy her sensuality then and later just as the Chinese observer does. He is our surrogate, defining the strange situation of a being in the wrong place: Chinese being then more of a 'minority' in Vietnam than Europeans.

Exotic ordinariness. Emerging awarenesses as justification for being. No, more: revelling in existence. Transition as destination.

It is odd how charged this one image is, and how competently it justifies the whole project. Just as the lover is left puzzling why, so are we. So are we, and the fact that no easy answer appears is why this sticks so.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

42 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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