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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovers and other strangers
Jean-Jacques Annaud (Two Brothers, Enemy at the Gate) made L'Amant (The Lover) in 1992. He wrote the script, but the story is from an autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras. Anyone who has heard the narrator from Hiroshima Mon Amour, the film Duras scripted for Alain Resnais, will know what to expect from the book, and from the film as well, for Annaud is faithful to...
Published on 2 Oct 2007 by Phillip Kay

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don`t bother
I don`t know when I have been so bored. I bought this thinking it was something totally different which I had seen on the TV some years ago, but I was mistaken. No substance, no content, don`t bother.
Published 18 months ago by Concise


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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovers and other strangers, 2 Oct 2007
This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
Jean-Jacques Annaud (Two Brothers, Enemy at the Gate) made L'Amant (The Lover) in 1992. He wrote the script, but the story is from an autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras. Anyone who has heard the narrator from Hiroshima Mon Amour, the film Duras scripted for Alain Resnais, will know what to expect from the book, and from the film as well, for Annaud is faithful to it. Duras writes some of the most beautiful, most precise prose of any modern writer, and preserves a tone of ironic detachment that draws the reader deep into the emotional process she is describing.

Annaud takes a risk in following the book so closely, for his film becomes literary rather than cinematic, and viewers sometimes find it empty, lacking in the kind of melodramatic intensity we've become used to in movies. In a reference to Hiroshima Mon Amour perhaps, Annaud has two parallel narrative streams throughout the movie, and this device succeeds in making it a great movie.

Viewers, especially in puritan America, are taken aback at the intensely erotic lovemaking scenes, which comprise most of the visual content of the movie. The lovmaking is so real that one wonders if the actors were really doing it, and not acting at all (I think they were). Other components may be dwarfed by this content, but they are there: the magnificent photography of landscape and city which expresses the love the characters have for their home; the racial divide between Asian and European; and the overriding theme of growing up.

The second narrative stream is the reflections of the elderly Duras (spoken by Jeanne Moreau in a non acting but important role) as she comments on the actions of her younger self as they are depicted in the film. This is the essence of both book and film. The tender, nostalgic tone of the elder Duras discovers both innocence and ignorance in the younger one; this is an experience everyone (except the very young) can relate to. The grandiose, empty generalisations (all women are prostitutes, the young girl tells her friend: I wouldn't mind being one). The eagerness for sexual experience, for losing one's virginity and becoming 'adult'. Focusing on one's own overwhelming reactions and cultivating a kind of blindness to the reactions of others. It is by looking back that Duras discovers the depth of the passion she has inspired in her lover. It is by looking back that she also discovers her feelings, on the surface so self confidently detached, were deeper than she realised. The lover loved her all his life. L'Amant is a love letter both to him, the lover, and her younger self, an attempt to bring the love more perfectly to life in fiction than it was in real life, an appeal to all of us to understand more fully what we are feeling, even though Duras realises the ironic truth that to learn from our mistakes we first have to make them.

Postscript
I recently read a review of this film in which the reviewer said the film was weakened by the fact that Jane March couldn't act. The comment made me reflect on how often actresses who do nude scenes are said to be bad actresses. It's always sounded like puritanism to me: instead of saying it's bad to be naked you say the acting's bad. I thought the acting was good throughout this film. You cannot fault Tony Leung, one of the greats of the HK movie industry. Jane March was asked to play a young, inexperienced girl and her own acting inexperience helped her do a good job. She played a stranger in a strange land who was also a stranger in her own family slowly coming to self realisation through her own sensuality. March was believable through all this, and not only because she looked the part. But to get the most from the movie you can't just focus on Jane March, just as you can't just focus on Jeanne Moreau as she speaks Duras' words. You have to focus on both actresses at the same time. And if you do and you're a male you'll learn a lot about women.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked and intelligent., 8 July 2004
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This film is currently unavailable on PAL, which is a pity as it deserves a wider release. 'The Lover' is perhaps best remembered for being Jane March's first role, and for being 'erotic'. It is both these things, but also an excellent film. Based on a Marguerite Dumas novel, the film concerns the relationship between a young, poor French girl and a local Chinese playboy. It is one of the few films to really tackle the subject of a strongly sexual relationship in a way which is both believable and yet not tacky. Jane March's performance brings the strong character of the novel vividly to life, and is backed by some marvellous photography and sets, which reek of post-colonial decay. A marvellously weighted narration (of passages from the novel) by Jeanne Moreau lends the film a serious and literary tone that balances the high eroticism of the sex scenes, and her weary, cracking voice back up the sense of realistic autobiography.
In all, a film which is evocative, spicy and intelligent, and worthy of a PAL DVD release some day soon.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Cinematography and More, 28 May 2008
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Well Read "saro319" (Norhampton England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
The film brings more varied nuances to the novel by Marguerite Duras, who wrote The Lover when she was seventy. The young actress Jane March, was criticised for a deadpan performance. That interpretation of the adolescent French school girl in the film is actually very effective. Her character is capable of sensual passion. Not deep emotional love. Tony Leung's character has a softer range of emotions, an effective counterpoint to those played by Jane March. He falls deeply in love with the girl who is attracted to him initially for sexual experience, and later for money. Her family, consisting of her mother and two brothers are impoverished colonials, her lover the son of a wealthy Chinese family. This mixture given the period, French Colonial Indochina, has repercussions for both.

Throughout the film, the beautiful cinematography creates an atmosphere the novel can't convey. The first encounter of the two lovers happens on a ferry crossing the Mekong River. From that point onwards their story unfolds. How we define erotic is cultural and individual. The sexual scenes are sensual and tender, only once verging on violent for a reason seen in the film, and definitely not tacky. The girl whilst emotionally distanced, quickly realises she has power over this man who loves her. He becomes a way of escaping from her ghastly family, who disapprove, insult him, and benefit from his financial generosity.

The film like the novel conveys the taboos inherent in colonialism and foreignness, sexual power, the tensions of the fragmented relationship between a mother and daughter, a brother and sister. The story is based on Duras's early life in Saigon. The narrator in the novel and film is the voice of an older woman reflecting back on her life. I highly recommend this 1992 film for the story, the acting, and the wonderful cinematography.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked and intelligent, 18 Jan 2007
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This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
'The Lover' is perhaps best remembered for being Jane March's first role, and for being 'erotic'. It is both these things, but also an excellent film. Based on a Marguerite Dumas novel, the film concerns the relationship between a young, poor French girl and a local Chinese playboy. It is one of the few films to really tackle the subject of a strongly sexual relationship in a way which is both believable and yet not tacky. Jane March's performance brings the strong character of the novel vividly to life, and is backed by some marvellous photography and sets, which reek of post-colonial decay. A marvellously weighted narration (of passages from the novel) by Jeanne Moreau lends the film a serious and literary tone that balances the high eroticism of the sex scenes, and her weary, cracking voice back up the sense of realistic autobiography.

In all, a film which is evocative, spicy and intelligent, and now finally available on PAL release.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic portrayal of explicit sex, racial predudice and colonial society, 21 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
This multi-dimensonal love story between a French girl and a local Chinese man was enhanced by the very well presented background of the French colony of today's Viet Nam. It is an intensive and artistic movie, which must be watched several times to really understand and savour all of the nuances shown. The prejudice against a relationship with a Chinese man was a painfully conscpicuous feature. I was moved by the narrative and the heroin's subsequent reminiscence of her younger days. I would recommend this movie.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Steamy and evocative, 1 Oct 2008
By 
Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
Other reviewers have effectively described the plot, the sex and the setting. As well as all this I was especially impressed by the cinematography. It's one of those films where almost every shot would look fabulous framed on a wall, and this rich intensity of images pulls you right into the languorous and exotic world of the film. Everything it does, it does very well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars sex, love and colonialism in an intense autobiographical film, 26 Jan 2014
A high-quality erotic movie, of course, and a deeply romantic one. Deep passion intertwined with surrepetitiousness and sin. Very exciting.

But for me the main picture was that of colonian life in Vietnam in the French colonial time. Here we see as Asian man in control of a beautiful European lady. He is Chinese, not the colonized Vietnamese, but still an "Asian". Despite his wealth and sophistication he is still considered a second tier person by the white colonizers. But here he is in control. And she, too, frees herself from the constraint of her condition as a white lady at a boarding school, and takes her liberties with the man she loves. Or maybe does not love, but desires.

Duras said her book was partly autobiographical, which adds interest and lends credibility to the story.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted., 5 Aug 2013
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D. S. A. Cranch (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
I only buy dvd's that I know what they contain so I can only say that this beautifully erotic video was just that.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane March is edible, 10 April 2013
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This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
Nothing else to say really, she gained the reputation as the "sinner from Pinner" as a direct consequence of this film
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Lover [DVD] (DVD)
Satisfied
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The Lover (L'Amant)  (Uncut) [DVD] [1992]
The Lover (L'Amant) (Uncut) [DVD] [1992] by Jean-Jacques Annaud (DVD - 2004)
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