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.
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
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Jane March denied that she and Tony Ka Fai Leung actually made love. (March: "I never had sex with Tony on or off the set. It's as simple as that.") All the sex scenes were done with careful choreography and body doubles. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud falsely implied the sex was real to boost publicity for the film, thus the sex-crazed English tabloid press trumpeted the rumor on its front pages for days, making life so miserable for March and her family that she got physically sick and had a nervous breakdown. March then fled to the Seychelles to escape. Annaud later stated the sex was not real, "At first I was flattered people believed [the sex]. But after that... I stopped doing press in Britain. Of course they didn't have sex." 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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Available on video in two versions: the 103 min. R-rated cut and a much more explicit 115 min. unrated cut. See more »
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel of Marguerite Duras, who was born in French colonial Vietnam, this film chronicles the sexual awakening of a young French girl who falls passionately in love with a Chinese scion of a rich trading family who have his marriage already arranged. They make love passionately in a way which more truthful than is usual on the screen. This film is intensely visual, written by a major French script writer, Gerard Brach, and narrated by the powerful world weary voice of Jeanne Moreau. If you have experienced consuming sexual passion and the pain which it can engender, you will understand this film. If you haven't, this film will give you that vicarious experience. It is all the more truthful because although the relationship is interracial, the passion transcends, whereas the cultural differences block the fulfilment of their true love. It is about how people miss love trapped by convention and common sense. This is a flawless film, beautifully shot--a minor classic, much under-appreciated.
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