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Vive L’Amour (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on May 11, 2011

The likelihood of any Ming-liang Tsai being released on Blu-Ray in this country anytime soon is practically zero, so I splurged on this Taiwanese import, even though it’s not one of my favorite Tsais.  However, that doesn’t mean it sucks or anything, it’s just that I prefer his later work a little more.  This one grew on me a little more this time (the hi-def presentation helps, especially compared to the abysmal non-anamorphic DVD).  Tsai’s films are so voyeuristic, more than any other filmmaker he makes me feel like I’m invading someone’s privacy.  Even, as in the very affecting final scene, when those private moments occur in public.  The theme of this movie seems to be all about shared space, especially in this transformation of a cold, empty, impersonal space into a den of awkward encounters.  As happens so often in Tsai’s films, intimacy only seems to enhance one’s sense of loneliness.  The performances are stunning in their minimalism.  Kuei-Mei Yang enters her utility room to turn off the gas heater, and pauses for just a moment.  Without a word (as usual, the film is nearly dialogue-free), without any prior indications, without even much of an expression on her face, it’s clear that in those few seconds she’s contemplating suicide (to me, anyway… someone else may come away with a different interpretation).  Still, there are a few moments where the extremely slow pace is more tiresome than fascinating, and the film could use a little more of Tsai’s humor.  Rating: 8


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