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The film focuses on three city folks who unknowingly share the same apartment: Mei, a real estate agent who uses it for her sexual affairs; Ah-jung, her current lover; and Hsiao-ang, who's stolen the key and uses the apartment as a retreat. Written by
L.H. Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I don't even know where to begin on Vive L'Amour. It is the second Tsai Ming-liang film I've seen, after The Hole. I doubted that it could be as good as The Hole, but it turned out to be an even better film. In fact, I'd say it's pretty close to perfect. The only thing I don't like about it is its American title - "Vive L'Amour" makes it sound like a romantic comedy starring Gerard Depardieu. This film is about love, but not in any conventional way.
I'd love to relate the plot of the film, but I think that'd ruin it quite a bit. Part of the fun of it is figuring out exactly what's going on. Those who like puzzle films will find the initial puzzle of Vive L'Amour very intriguing. Those who don't like slow-moving films should avoid it, though. A good benchmark: if you like Antonioni's films, especially L'Avventura, which is directly referenced in this film, you'll probably like it. Here's an intriguing fact about Vie L'Amour: there is not one piece of audible dialogue spoken until 21 minutes have gone by. One of the main characters does not speak until 49 minutes have passed. If you were to write out all the dialogue of the film, you could probably fit it on a single page. Tsai is simply audacious in his paucity of dialogue. And it could have easily seemed like little more than a stunt, but the characters still come off as fully developed and interesting people. The drama works wonders, and there is a lot of comedy, too. The film is also very erotic.
I really don't want to say another word about this film. I hope that any reader will have enjoyed or agreed with the numerous other reviews I have written to take my recommendation at face value. I have seen hundreds of great films, and Vive L'Amour is one of the best I have seen. Also, make sure to check out The Hole, which is also on Fox Lorber DVD. Fox Lorber has gotten a lot of undeserved criticism in the past. Their DVDs aren't always the best (they're no Criterion), but they're usually of great visual quality. They may have few extras, but extras are not always necessary. I would even suggest that Criterion sometimes stuffs their DVDs with unnecessary and low-quality material.
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