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Taiwan 1994
Directed by
Tsai Ming-Liang
118 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars

Vive L'Amour

Tsai Ming-liang’s marvellous tragi-comic study of contemporary urban alienation in Taipei brings home the aching loneliness of its subjects' lives with excruciatingly long takes, often using static medium and long shots, of his characters doing virtually nothing in anonymously impersonal contexts.

The film, whose ironic title might be translated as " Long Live Love", charts the briefly intersecting lives of three characters, Ah-jung, a sensitive young man who sells wall space for the ashes of dead people, Hsiao-kang, a cocky street vendor (played by Chen Chao-jung and Lee Kang-sheng, both Tsai regulars, respectively), and May Lin, an ineffectual real estate agent.

To some, giving only a surface look at the film, with minimal dialogue and little action this may seem boring but Vive L’Amour is, typically enough for Tsai, a perfect matching of form and content in its depiction of emotional and spiritual isolation, a combination stunningly brought home in the film’s five minute final sequence in which May Lin (Yang Kuei-mei, also a Tsai regular) comes face to face with the emptiness of her life.




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