Directed by Tsai Ming-liang
Golden Lion, 1994 Venice Film Festival
Best Film, 1994 Golden Horse Awards
New digital restoration
20 years ago, Tsai Ming-liang’s international breakthrough VIVE L’AMOUR introduced the world to Hsiao-kang, played by the breathlessly laconic Lee Kang-sheng. With Hsiao-kang’s body his muse, Tsai fleshed out a cinematic Taipei that seemed the inverse of cinema: emptied out of drama, dialogue, and music, leaving only the unheard footsteps in otherwise vacant apartments, the mechanics of everyday erotics, and most memorably, the sheer duration of everything from urinating to having a good cry. In other words, as no other film before had done, VIVE L’AMOUR rescued a neglected humanity from the cinema and in doing so, reinvented the capacity of film to bring people together in the darkness.
Indeed coming together is the game of VIVE L’AMOUR. Street crawler Hsiao-kang sneaks into people’s homes, skirt chaser Ah-jung hustles his way into them, and real estate agent May Lin sells them. The film comically maps pathways for them to intersect, breathe each other’s air, and perhaps relieve each other of their solitude.
The film’s title could not be more apt. Since its premiere at the 1994 Venice Film Festival, the film has been amour fou for many, especially against the critics who lost patience with Tsai’s courageous pacing and use of silence. Those who loved it, loved it. They learned to breathe differently while watching the film. Some went on to make bold, exquisite films of their own. They cheered as became canonized as a modern classic. And VIVE L’AMOUR lived on with the love it inspired. –Brian Hu
Vive l’amour (1994)
The River (1997)
The Hole (1998)
What Time is it There? (2001)
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)
The Wayward Cloud (2005)
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006)
Stray Dogs (2013)
Cast: Lee Kang-sheng, Yang Kuei-mei, Chen Chao-jung