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Amant, L' (1991)

She gave her innocence, her passion, her body. The one thing she couldn't give was her love.

Original Title : Amant, L'
Director : Jean-Jacques Annaud
Writer : Jean-Jacques Annaud
Gérard Brach
Marguerite Duras
Genre : Drama
Romance
Country : France
Language : English
Producer : Claude Berri , Jacques Tronel
Music : Gabriel Yared
Photography : Robert Fraisse
MPAA Rating : Rated R on appeal for graphic and explicit sexuality.
IMDB ID : 0101316
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poster for "Amant, L'" by Jean-Jacques Annaud (1991)
Amant, L' (1991) - Jean-Jacques Annaud
 

Starring

Jane March The Young Girl
Tony Leung Ka Fai The Chinaman
Frédérique Meininger The Mother
Arnaud Giovaninetti The Elder Brother
Melvil Poupaud The Younger Brother
Lisa Faulkner Helene Lagonelle
Xiem Mang The Chinaman's Father
Xiem Mang The Chinaman's Father
 

Plot

It is French Colonial Vietnam in 1929. A young French girl from a family that is having some monetary difficulties is returning to boarding school. She is alone on public transportation when she catches the eye of a wealthy Chinese businessman. He offers her a ride into town in the back of his chauffeured sedan, and sparks fly. Can the torrid affair that ensues between them overcome the class restrictions and social mores of that time? Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras.
 

Comments

Too much work on the camera, not enough on the script Is it art or is it porn? You'll have to be the judge, depending on your morality quotient - however it must be said that there *is* a lot of sex in The Lover, and some of it is quite explicit, particularly in the unrated version. To what extent the story and its figures justify five or so scenes of high-level nude body-grinding is again conjectural - personally I felt it was fine, but also something of a lost opportunity in terms of plot and character development. The novel was obviously an excellent one, but I don't think this particular movie does it justice. The whole premise is an interesting one: two figures from markedly different backgrounds meet, at a time when colonialism was itself changing and waning, and they engage in a fiery but ultimately doomed affair. There was a wonderful opportunity to explore two interesting characters, to consider their personal issues (her obnoxious and something abusive family, his restrictive culture) and to show how and why such relationships are usually short-lived. These themes were examined, but not to the right extent, they were essentially wasted in favour of (a) sex, and (b) artistic cinematography. Consequently when all the rampant jockeying was finished and the characters had parted company, you hardly felt as if you knew them (except perhaps for their sexual preferences). Still, it was nicely shot - perhaps too nicely - and the script was interesting, if a bit minimalistic. The pace was slow, probably due to the many lingering artistic shots and the lack of on-going plot and character development (which makes a film *seem* slow). Enjoyable enough viewing in a sleepy but thoughtful kind of way, but not likely to stick in your memory, unless you're a soft-porn devotee.
 
poster for "Amant, L'"
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Amant, L' (1991) - Jean-Jacques Annaud
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