The Lover (Not Rated)
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From the novel of the same namewhich has sold over one million copies in 43 languagesthis "sophisticated adaptation of Marguerite Duras' best-selling memoirs" (Variety) smolders on the screen. "Masterfully acted and beautifully photographed" (Critics' Choice), The Lover brilliantly captures the essence of sexual awakening and forbidden desire like no other film has donebeforeor since. Jane March is mesmerizing in the role of a poor French teenager who engages in an illicit affair with a wealthy Chinese heir (Tony Leung) in 1920s Saigon. For the first time in her young life she has control, and she wields it deftly over her besotted lover throughout a series of clandestine meetings and torrid encounters. But though the lovers are able to transcend their differences in age, race and class'theirs is a future that French colonial Vietnamese society will never allow. 10 minutes of additional footage not included in the domestic in the theatrical release - Not Rated
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There are many side plots. Sexual awakening of a young girl, mentioned in other reviews, seems to be a side plot, though fairly well developed. Chemistry between adolescent girls, the jealousy and competition among siblings, these are introduced but left frustratingly undeveloped. It would have made the movie too long.
It works out much better than Lolita where the girl dies and the man is jailed for murder, but not as well as Psyche where through the diligence of her magical helpers and the deviousness of Venus there is a complete conversion from secret mistress to immortal wife, the oldest and most famous in literature. The difference I believe is in the respect the older lover shows for the girl and her family, even though they don't deserve it. This redeems his character as compared to Lolita's blundering lover who covers up his mistakes and takes no responsibility for outcomes. But though responsible in the present this lover takes no responsibility for the future, unlike Cupid who insists on charging against fate and tradition (though sensibly so, and only after he has tested his companion).
The young girl also takes responsibility, entering the relationship with deliberate awareness. The whole film/novel is in fact an exercise/lesson in self awareness. But she is incomplete compared to Psyche, who allows herself to feel deeply enough to be moved while movement still matters.
By comparison the story also shows the role of circumstance. In Psyche's story, Cupid's mother (wittingly or unwittingly, a subject for debate) plays an important role in putting the couple together. In The Lover, his mother has died but her strong memory as evidenced by the sad state of his father sets the stage for love. In Lolita, the man's mother is absent altogether and so is his respect for his partner or her family or any sense of personal responsibility.
What follows is somewhat of a spoiler. I believe the movie shows the seven stages of an affair: infatuation, lust, love, rape, impotence, longing and reunion. By omission it shows what an affair is not. It is not the long term building of a family. Had the girl become pregnant as Psyche did what would have happened? It seems likely that in real life this would have happened, and then real choices would have to be made.
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You'll definitely feel something for the characters, I had this years ago on a vhs tape yes, VHS.Read more