Vive L’Amour (Chinese: 愛情萬歲 Aiqing wansui) is a 1994 Taiwanese New Wave film by Tsai Ming-liang. It is a slow-paced film with sparse dialogue about urban alienation, centering on three people who unknowingly share an apartment in Taipei.
Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng), a young salesman, discovers a key to an apartment in its lock and takes it. He soon moves into one of the bedrooms, and one night he attempts to commit suicide by slitting his wrists while lying on the bed.
Meanwhile, Ah-jung (Chen Chao-jung) is drinking coffee at a cafe when a beautiful real estate agent, May Lin (Yang Kuei-Mei), sits at the table next to his. Intrigued, he follows her as she walks down the street. Lin catches on and eventually joins him. She leads him to a vacant apartment that she is trying to sell — the same apartment that Hsiao-kang is staying in — and they have sex in one of the bedrooms. Hsiao-kang hears them and stops the bleeding from his wrists.
Ah-jung steals the key to the apartment from Lin and later returns with his belongings. He moves into one of the adjoining bedrooms. That night, he and Hsiao-kang encounter each other in the apartment and have a short argument.
May Lin spends her day trying to sell property. While taking a break, she returns to the apartment when Hsiao-kang and Ah-jung are both there. The two sneak out quietly together and soon form a friendship.
One night, Hsiao-kang goes out for a walk and meets Ah-jung selling dresses on the street. May Lin walks past but does not notice them. Soon, Ah-jung joins her at a food stand and the two return to the apartment and sleep together in the same room as they did the first time. Unbeknownst to them, Hsiao-kang is hiding under the bed as they arrive, and he masturbates as the bed creaks above him.
The next morning, May Lin gets dressed and leaves. Hsiao-kang lies next to the sleeping Ah-jung and kisses him before slowly pulling away. Lin goes to her car but cannot start it and instead walks on a pathway near some construction sites. She then sits down on a bench and starts to cry uncontrollably. —Wikipedia
Along with Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang became one of Taiwan’s most prominent directors during the 1990s. His films regularly appeared in festivals around the globe and he received lavish praise from film critics worldwide. Born in Malaysia in 1957, Tsai moved to Taiwan and graduated from the Chinese Cultural University in 1982. For the next ten years, he worked in theater and writing screenplays for films and television. He directed his first feature in 1992, Rebels of the Neon God, which, with its tough but tender depictions of disaffected youth, earned him comparisons to Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In addition to Fassbinder, Tsai was also influenced by François Truffaut, to whom he was exposed as a student. His style differed from his idol Truffaut’s, however, like his countrymen Yang and Hou, Tsai preferred long takes, few close-ups, and sparse dialogue. And like another of his influences, Michelangelo Antonioni, he displayed a genius for placing the camera at… read more
A visually striking leap from Rebels, Vive l'amour’s images speak volumes on urban isolation and the inability to communicate in cold, urbane settings. Its threesome, including Lee’s Hsiao-kang, forge homes for themselves but have less solace than ever - together embodying the empty pursuits, timid connections and despair, to which their anaemic descent, which remains palpable, otherwise proves contiguous. It may not be so incisive as a whole, but is still an elegant sophomore work, wherein Tsai tangibly - if waywardly - advances his style.
Tsai's second film is a bleak study of loneliness and alienation in the sprawling environment of the Taiwanese capital and showcases his trademark minimalism in the use of dialogue. The quiet solitude of the three main characters is deftly portrayed as we follow them going about their unremarkable lives, their paths crossing on occasion, leading to a compelling final scene where tears of desperation are finally shed.
a story of everything that comes with urban society. big open spaces versus aisles and rows and crowds of people. sex in rooms as a controlled medium versus not being able to control the evolving world around you.
Francois Truffaut, Tsai Ming-liang, and the “reverberation, ambiguity and suggestiveness” of the cinephiliac writerly impulse of “the move.”
Tsai offers both an intensified take on his brand of voyeurism and a sweet valentine to his cast of regulars.
Nothing like coming back to a film that once bored me senseless only to rewatch it and realize that it’s a masterpiece. There are so many things to love, like the fact that the dialogue is mostly redundant… read review