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Vive l’amour (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

Three strangers unknowingly share a vacant apartment in Taiwan's Taipei in this 1994 film from Tsai Ming-liang, a giant of the Taiwanese second new wave.

Vive l’amour is the second film from Tsai Ming-liang (Dragon Inn), the famed filmmaker from the Taiwanese Second New Wave. The film follows three people who are unknowingly sharing a what was thought to be a vacant apartment in Taipei. There is the beautiful realtor May Lin (Yang Kuei-mei) brings her lover Ah-jung (Chen Chao-jung) to the unit, not knowing that a suicidal funeral salesman Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng), who previously sneaked into the apartment and tried to slit his wrists, is occupying the apartment as well. The film progresses with the three going through the tedium of their lives and frequenting the apartment, May Lin waiting for and meeting clients, Ah Jung, who sells counterfeit designer goods on the streets, continues his dubious dealings, and Hsiao-kang goes about placing flyers in mailboxes. The three cross paths never knowing they are sharing the apartment, missing their opportunities for making personal connections. The three eventually develop a strange sort of friendship in a psycho-sexual and erotic twist, but their isolation seems baked into their lives and their threesome.

Vive l’amour is a fascinating drama from Tsai that addresses the issues with isolation in modern Taipei as the film plays out with an undercurrent of melancholy. This is in the vein of other Asian filmmakers like Wong Kar-wai, in the hints of eroticism or the visual aesthetic, or the idea of loosely connected characters crossing paths such as in Wong’s Chung King Express. From the coolness of the palette to the feeling of distance Tsai creates in the film, he is presenting a 1990s masterpiece that shows Taipei as a post-modern city where isolation, capitalism, and one night stands are what drive existence. The film won the Golden Lion at the 1994 Venice International Film Festival.

The Video

Vive l’amour comes to Blu-ray in an AVC 1080p encodement from a 2K restoration from the original camera negative. The original aspect ratio of the film is 1.85:1 and the disc lists the aspect ratio as 1.85:1, but on playback it’s in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image looks beautiful, with a layer of organic grain and good color in its slightly hyper-saturated palette.

The Audio

Vive l’amour comes with the original Mandarin audio mix in LOCM 2.0 mono. The sound is full and dynamic with clear dialogue.

The Supplements

The interview with the director is a good inclusion, as is the 16-page booklet.

  • 16-page booklet with new essay by Nick Pinkerton, production stills, information on the transfer, and film credits.
  • Tsai Ming-liang Interview (1080p; 00:28:49)
  • Vive L’Amour Trailer (1080p)

The Final Assessment

A masterpiece of the Taiwanese Second New Wave that Film Movement has brought to Blu-ray in a masterful new 2K restoration on Blu-ray. Film Movement continue to do an excellent job bringing wonderful independent and foreign films to disc. Highly recommended.

Vive l’amour is out on Blu-ray June 14, 2022 from Film Movement


  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Central Motion Pictures | Film Movement Classics
  • Director: Tsai Ming-liang
  • Written By: Tsai Ming-liang | Tsai Yi-chun | Yang Pi-ying
  • Run Time: 118 Mins.
  • Street Date: 14 June 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Mandarin LPCM 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English
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Three strangers unknowingly share a vacant apartment in Taiwan's Taipei in this 1994 film from Tsai Ming-liang, a giant of the Taiwanese second new wave. Vive l'amour (Blu-ray Review)