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The Lover (1992)

L'amant (original title)
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In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.

Writers:

Marguerite Duras (based on the novel), Gérard Brach (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,703 ( 28)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane March ... The Young Girl
Tony Ka Fai Leung ... The Chinaman
Frédérique Meininger ... The Mother
Arnaud Giovaninetti Arnaud Giovaninetti ... The Elder Brother
Melvil Poupaud ... The Younger Brother
Lisa Faulkner ... Helene Lagonelle
Xiem Mang Xiem Mang ... The Chinaman's Father
Philippe Le Dem Philippe Le Dem ... The French Teacher
Ann Schaufuss Ann Schaufuss ... Anne-Marie Stretter
Quach Van An Quach Van An ... The Driver
Tania Torrens Tania Torrens ... The Principal
Raymonde Heudeline Raymonde Heudeline ... The Writer (end)
Yvonne Wingerter Yvonne Wingerter ... The Writer (beginning)
Do Minh Vien Do Minh Vien ... The Young Boy
Hélène Patarot ... The Assistant Mistress
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Storyline

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. Written by Cal Lott <cal.lott@gsb.uchicago.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R on appeal for graphic and explicit sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | UK | Vietnam

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lover See more »

Filming Locations:

Vietnam See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$181,147, 30 October 1992, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,899,194
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated) | (unrated)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on the autobiographical novel by French author Marguerite Duras, whose youthful, real life romance with a Chinese man in colonial Vietnam caused a scandal. See more »

Goofs

Her lover smokes filtered cigarettes in 1929. They were not invented until the mid-'30s and not in common use until the 1950s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Very early in my life, it was too late. At eighteen it was already too late. At eighteen I aged. This aging was brutal. This aging, I saw it spread over my features, one by one. Instead of being frightened by it, I saw this aging of my face with the same sort of interest I might have taken for example in the reading of a book. That new face I kept it. It's kept the same contours, but its matter is destroyed. I have a destroyed face. Let me tell you again: I'm fifteen and a half. ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Available on video in two versions: the 103 min. R-rated cut and a much more explicit 115 min. unrated cut. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Perfect Exchange (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz in B minor Opus 69 No. 2
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Chopin)
Performed by Howard Shelley
See more »

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User Reviews

One Image
2 June 2004 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I continue to be amazed at what works in this huge experiment in the social imagination we call film.

One thing that really impresses me is how one image will stick in your mind. One image around which it seems the whole rest of the project revolves and supports. I usually write IMDb comments very soon after seeing or reseeing a film.

In this case, I was so struck by that one image I resolved to wait three months before commenting. It stuck.

That image is the one which is used in the promotion and presumably is what the filmmaker considers its essence: the 15 year old girl in defiantly non-school clothes with an incongruous man's hat on the ferry. She is observing and consciously observed. It is we who observe her and enjoy her sensuality then and later just as the Chinese observer does. He is our surrogate, defining the strange situation of a being in the wrong place: Chinese being then more of a 'minority' in Vietnam than Europeans.

Exotic ordinariness. Emerging awarenesses as justification for being. No, more: revelling in existence. Transition as destination.

It is odd how charged this one image is, and how competently it justifies the whole project. Just as the lover is left puzzling why, so are we. So are we, and the fact that no easy answer appears is why this sticks so.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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