Synopsis: From the novel of the same name – which has sold over one million copies in 43 languages – this “sophisticated adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ best-selling memoirs” (Daily 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 had done before – or 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.

L’amant 7.5

Based on the memoir by Marguerite Duras, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s film tells the tale of a teenage girl who gets involved in a sexual relationship with an older, well-to-do, Chinese man in pre-WWII Vietnam.

As can be expected from Annaud, the production considered every detail, and it shows – one would be hard-pressed to find anachronisms or elements that are not perfectly suited for the film. It was an expensive production at the time for this type of film and, sadly, controversy prevented it from being a financial success (in Britain, for instance, headlines screamed in shock over the sex scenes – which some believed had not been acted, but actually performed for real).

But it’s a nice period-piece film, and the relationship between the two protagonists is credible, even if it’s not a palpably heated one – the intensity one would typically expect can hardly be found on screen (although, to be honest, the circumstances both characters are in, sort of justifies it). It’s a bit on the slow, lingering side (except toward the end when the film’s sense of time seems to get a bit caught up with expediency), but it’s just the right tone for this kind of drama.

And while it’s not the world’s greatest film, doesn’t contain an overly enticing story, or is it even as steamy as one might expect, it’s well worth seeing: it is based, after all, on a true story and the book is an award-winner – that alone merits some consideration, even if the end result is a little “hot and cold”.

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