You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vive L’Amour

Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, "Vive L'Amour" is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang's promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, "Rebels of the Neon God." Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though mild homoerotic undercurrents could find this a few friends in gay situations.

With:
May Lin - Yang Kuei-mei
Hsiao-kang - Lee Kang-sheng
Ah-jung - Chen Chao-jung
(Mandarin dialogue)

Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though mild homoerotic undercurrents could find this a few friends in gay situations. Venice fest awarded pic the Gold Lion , which it shared with Macedonia’s “Before the Rain.”

First two reels (virtually sans dialogue) intro the three protagonists in downbeat style. Boyish, blank-faced salesman Hsiao-kang steals the key to a vacant apartment and halfheartedly slashes his wrist. Elsewhere in the city, smooth-looking Ah-jung picks up an older woman, May, and the two have sex in the same apartment.

Hsiao-kang, it turns out, sells indoor niches for crematorium urns. May is a real-estate agent, perpetually on the phone to clients and running from property to property. Ah-jung is a sidewalk vendor of clothing.

Though far from the bread line, all are “homeless” in their own ways, living off the rump of an affluent society but not a part of it. The two men meet and pal up, and when Ah-jung and May meet at the apartment for more sex, Hsiao-kang is an accidental witness under the bed. Long final sequence follows May as she breaks down in tears on the way to work.

Tsai’s cool, immaculately framed style is occasionally effective (as black comedy) but mostly maddeningly mannered and empty, evoking little sympathy or engagement with the characters. Dialogue is flatly delivered, and Hsiao-kang’s sexual confusion (explicit only near the end, when he minces around the apartment in femme clothes) seems more tacked on than integrated into the pic’s emotional fabric.

Performances by the two males, both from “Rebels,” are OK within pic’s limits. As the sidelined woman, the experienced Yang Kuei-mei does her best with a thankless part. Technically, pic is fine, with clean lensing by its two cinematographers, but basically this is a so-what movie in spades.

Vive L'Amour

Taiwanese

Production: A Sunny Overseas Corp./Shiung Fa Corp. production for Central Motion Picture Corp. (International sales: CMPC, Taipei.) Produced by Chung Hu-pin. Executive producer, Jiang Feng-chy. Executive in charge of production, Hsu Li-kung. Line producer, Tzon Wei-hua. Directed by Tsai Ming-liang. Screenplay, Tsai, Yang Pi-ying, Tsai Yi-chun.

Crew: Camera (color), Liao Pen-jung, Lin Ming-kuo; editor, Sung Fan-chen; art direction, Li Pao-lin; set decoration, Chen Chien-hsun; costume design, Luo Chung-hung; sound design, Hsin Chiang-sheng; sound, Yang Ching-an, Hu Ding-yi; assistant director, Yu Cheng-wei, Tsai Yi-chun. Reviewed on vidcassette, London, Aug. 19, 1994. (In Venice Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 118 MIN.

With: May Lin - Yang Kuei-mei
Hsiao-kang - Lee Kang-sheng
Ah-jung - Chen Chao-jung
(Mandarin dialogue)

More Film

  • Bradley Cooper Robert De Niro

    Bradley Cooper on His Secret Pact With Lady Gaga for 'A Star is Born'

    Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though […]

  • The seagull

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Seagull'

    Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though […]

  • Verne TroyerStarkey Hearing Foundation Awards Gala,

    Verne Troyer, Mini-Me in 'Austin Powers,' Dies at 49

    Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though […]

  • 'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts

    'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts as 'Last Jedi' Slips to No. 2

    Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though […]

  • Stockholm review

    Tribeca Film Review: Ethan Hawke in 'Stockholm'

    Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though […]

  • READY PLAYER ONE

    Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Crosses $500 Million Worldwide

    Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though […]

  • Hans Zimmer90th Annual Academy Awards, Roaming

    Hans Zimmer to Receive Steiner Award at Hollywood in Vienna Gala

    Another in the lengthening line of Taiwanese urban alienation movies, “Vive L’Amour” is a severe letdown after young director Tsai Ming-liang’s promising, multi-layered debut on the same theme, “Rebels of the Neon God.” Posey, anti-dramatic pic about three lost souls in contempo Taipei looks like it will lose most of its audience as well, though […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content