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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 <email@example.com>
6 minutes 25 seconds of a woman crying. If you can take it, then you might like this film
Yes, I timed it. It's exactly six minutes and 25 seconds of a closeup (stationary camera) of a woman crying. She pauses once to light a new cigarette, and then she resumes crying.
This example is designed to illustrate how tedious the movie can be. Don't get me wrong; slow is good sometimes. Ketchup, mango sorbet, a sunrise... yes, these things are best enjoyed slowly. But now imagine a spoonful of mango sorbet that just refuses to leave your spoon. You shake it, you bite at it, you pry it with your tongue, but it just won't budge.
That's when slow crosses into annoying.
Before you dismiss me as some MTV-generation ADHD kid, let me mention that two of my favourite movies are "Werckmeister Harmoniak" (camera shots that last up to 13 minutes) and Kieslowsky's "Trois Couleurs" (where we watch an old woman struggling with a rubbish bin for 2 minutes, repeated 3 times). "2001: A Space Odyssey" is another winner. And I wish "Russian Ark" could've been an hour longer. Those are all painfully slow films. But this film makes them look like the Indy 500.
Ming-liang Tsai's later work, "The Hole" is much more substantial. It's just as slow but with one important difference: "The Hole" keeps us interested with it's cryptic plot and imaginative setting. Here we have no such incentive to stay awake. The plot is banal, colours are drab, acting is concrete (deliberately, I'm sure), and the camera is as lethargic as a kid on dope, only without the potato chips.
In my opinion, the movie reaches its only high point halfway through when we are shown a very clever and poignant analogy which I won't ruin for you. It was absolutely brilliant, and it's the only reason why I'm rating this movie a 6 instead of a 3.
I think the director just pushed it one step too far with the slow pace. At first it works, but after a while--just like an old joke--it fails to carry any more punch, and it seems gratuitous and gimmicky.
My suggestion is for you to watch "The Hole" first. Even though it's done in the same slow style, it's much more challenging and intriguing (see my review of "The Hole"). If you really like that movie (and I mean REALLY like it...rating it an 8 or better) then try "Vive l'Amour". Otherwise, you might want to think twice. This movie just sucks the life out of you. And the crying scene freaked out my dog.
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