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, May picks up Ah-jung and enters the same flat for a late-night tryst. As the film progresses, each character goes through the tedium of their lives: May waits in empty houses for prospective clients; Ah-jung hawks his wares while avoiding the police, and Hsiao-kang places fliers in anonymous mailboxes. All three use the unoccupied apartment at various times for their own needs without realizing the presence of the others, until Hsiao-kang and Ah-jung run into each other. After they both flee the place when May arrives, they develop an odd sort of friendship.
“Vive L’Amour” — an ironic title, to be sure — has the stripped-down look and existential feel of a French New Wave film of the late 1950s, but with a much harder edge” – Chicago Tribune
“Tsai Ming-liang’s haunting second feature, is a virtual homage to the Antonioni films “La Notte” and “Eclipse.” As in those early-1960’s masterpieces, the gleaming anonymous architecture and thoroughfares of a booming metropolis (here it is contemporary Taipei) frame the blank spiritual lives of characters who drift through the city in a state of melancholy disconnection.” – NY Times
“For all its spareness, “Vive L’Amour” is in fact a loving, quietly affectionate film that cares about its rootless characters.” – SF Chronicle
- 8/15 | 8:00PM