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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jane March plays a European woman who causes a scandal for having an affair with a Chinese man in Vietnam. In real life, March is of partial Chinese and Vietnamese descent. 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 »
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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I first saw this movie when I was younger, as one of the most graphic "mainstream" movies available. That was before I ever knew what the word "soft-core" meant.
I watched it again, when I was older, and I finally understand it. The quiet sequences and unemotional facade of the female lead are no longer just boring filler between the exciting love scenes. Perhaps it's because I needed a little more life experience to know the unexpressed feelings of the female character and the expressed feelings of the male character. Sure, this movie is about taboo and tasting forbidden fruit. This movie is about sex. But this movie also has very strong depictions of the other emotions involved in the affair. Shame. Guilt. Racial and social prejudice. Love which is explored when both parties know there can be no future. Emotional detachment born out of necessity, as a "defense mechanism". Being ostracized by your peers, and life in an environment rife with vicious rumors. But mostly the shame and guilt. It's made clearer to me what a former lover of mine may have felt.
To live through all that and then to watch this movie makes for a very personal, moving experience. I can't recommend it to everyone, since every movie experience is unique. But I can say that "The Lover" is much, much more than just an excuse for graphic love scenes. It's a story of a reminiscence... a first time... a shameful secret... a hidden love, fostered through hardship and burning into the mind of the narrator an indelible, permanent mark of memory of a first, life-shaping lover...
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