ella’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Is it because you don't have a place to stay? ”
Taipei. A city that seems so inoffensive, but that just like any other metropolis, — in its rush and overpopulation — manages to eat people alive.
Somewhere in there, in the middle of the city there is a place, an empty place that serves as a refuge for three individuals.
Tsai Ming-Liang invites you in, but be warned it is intimate. It feels like sneaking into someone's room and reading their diary. A place where they hide their innermost fears and desires.
Vive L'Amour is study on the fear of intimacy, loneliness and repressed sexuality. Tsai Ming-Liang affirms his artistry through long takes and little dialogue, making Vive L'Amour feel like an intruding journey to its characters mind.
May Ling (Kuei-Mei Yang) and Hsiao-Kang (Lee Kang-sheng) embodies so perfectly contradictory mix of emotions and the proper balance of frailty and strength. She sells comfort, commodity, and fresh starts to other people whilst denying herself what she fears and needs the most. He flirts with death and freedom, not knowing which one give a shot. And Ah Jeng (Chen Chao-jung) somehow connects both of them.
Is there anything more isolating than being unable to give yourself what you yearn for?
That empty place in that crowded city serves as both a refuge and a prison. It suffocates its inhabitants. It does not even come close to feeling like home.
He lies there and awaits for the burden to disappear. She lies there and awaits for herself to feel something. But nothing happens.
And in this dance of deprivation and repression, their bodies aches for liberation and longs for love.
Who knows how many May Lings and Hsiao-Kangs there's out there? But vive l'amour. And vive la vie and its complexities.