Vive l'Amour (1994)

Vive l'Amour


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Movie Info

This second film by prominent Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang is a brilliant portrayal of isolation and urban disillusionment in modern Taipei. The movie focuses on three lonely souls: Hsiao-kang, a gay salesman of crematorium niches who wanders the city on his scooter; Ah-jung, a handsome street hawker of counterfeit designer goods; and May Lin, a struggling real estate agent. Hsiao-kang sneaks into a vacant apartment with a stolen key, takes a bath, and tries to slash his wrists. Meanwhile, … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Tsai Yi-Chun, Ming-liang
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 31, 1998
Strand Releasing


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Critic Reviews for Vive l'Amour

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

We're all ghosts in Tsai's world, though we may not all know it.

Full Review… | October 25, 2011
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

You could say it's two hours of three characters with one-track minds, a distended portrait of overgrown kids playing hide and seek.

Full Review… | September 1, 2009

Audience Reviews for Vive l'Amour


a nearly wordless film that works as a kind of homage to antonioni's themes, especially in 'l'eclisse'. three characters share an apartment, unbeknownst to each other as they almost never interact, a metaphor for the anonymity and alienation of big city life. beautifully done. i'm working through tsai's filmography in order and i recommend it highly

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

"Don't knock masturbation, it's sex with someone I love." - Woody Allen to Diane Keaton, "Annie Hall"(1977)

"Vive L'Amour" starts with Hsiao-kang(Lee Kang-sheng) stealing a key for a vacant luxury apartment and moving in where he suffers in his solitude. Even in an office full of partiers, he is miserable. After some flirtation, Mei(Yang Kuei-Mei), a real estate agent, takes Ah-jung(Chen Chao-jung) back to that same apartment for some quick anonymous sex. He likes the surroundings and decides to stick around for a while. So, while he and his housemate might have to worry about running into each other, they do not have to worry about the apartment being sold since the housing market is in shambles, leaving Mei out of luck. That does not stop construction all over the place, and at one point her car is blocked by a crane. She needs her car if she is to keep moving in an attempt to make a living in such desperate times where Ah-Jung mans an illegal sidewalk sale. So busy is she that she hardly has time to eat, much less have a relationship.

I told a friend of mine I was going into the city to see "Vive L'Amour," directed by Tsai Ming-liang, and he asked what his movies are about. I replied that they are usually not strong on plot, and are generally about loneliness which is certainly true here. In this case, Tsai Ming-liang directs with his customary exquisite panache and playful and melancholic sense of humor, with little dialogue to denote a lack of communication. In lesser hands, this would be just another bedroom farce, but he takes his time to fully explore the symbolism of closed doors and personal space in a city with no lack of it, just anything affordable. And while we all want a lot of space to live our lives, the cremation containers that Hsiao-kang sells is all we need when we die.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

The quinessential Tsai Ming Liang film. An affecting portrait of modern alienation in Taipei. Three lonely people unknowingly share a luxury apartment for sale. This idea came from the fact that the real estate industry boom in the 80's left Taiwan with the highest rate of unoccupied homes in the world. The film is very Antonioni-esque but with an extra dose of minimalism and deadpan humor and without the brilliant visual compositions of L' Avventura or L'Eclisse. This being his second film, Tsai hasn't yet perfected his visual style.

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