The Lover DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.5
Video 6.0
Audio 6.0
Special Features 5.0
Audio 6.5
Distributor: Umbrella
Running Time:
Classification:
 R18+
Reviewer: Simon Black

6.5


The Lover
1992

Marguerite Durasí slender semi-autobiographical novel LíAmant (The Lover) raised more than a few eyebrows, and pulses, upon its initial publication in 1984.  An account of the authorís adolescence spent in 1920s Vietnam, and more specifically her affair as a 15-year-old with a much older Chinese businessman, the work proved surprisingly scandalous to certain more delicate sensibilities, despite its poetic delivery and emotionally complex thematic structure. 

Jean-Jacques Annaudís 1992 film adaptation remains faithful to the spirit of the original text, excepting that the heroine of the film tells her lover she is 17 (actress Jane March was 18 at the time of filming).  The end result is truly stunning, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. 

Lolita this ainít.  Rather The Lover is a beautifully shot erotic slow-burner, and a wonderful evocation of the manifold tortures, and pleasures, of illicit love. 

Every sequence of the film has been laboriously crafted, each shot feels deliberate.  Our introduction to Marchís nameless character is simultaneously one of the most sensual and detached scenes of the entire film; the camera pans slowly and in extreme close up over each curve and crevice of her body, attempting to soak up her very essence.  The effect is at once languid, intense and achingly, desperately amorous.  This is a film in which holding hands is granted the same significance as lovemaking, and where longing looks and the brush of fingertips on skin are sometimes all the characters are allowed in the way of physical contact.  Not that there isnít plenty of passionate sex, of course. 

With exceedingly fine performances courtesy of March and her co-star Tony Leung Ka-fai, painstaking direction and some truly inspired cinematography courtesy of Robert Fraisse, The Lover is guaranteed to make your loins and your cerebellum quiver in equal measure. 

Audio & Video

Little, if anything, has been done in the way of restoration. The print contains numerous artefacts and on the whole comes across rather grainy and soft.  That isnít a complaint by the way; the film looks exactly as it did upon release nearly 20 years ago, and the fact that the transfer isnít pristine suits both the historical milieu and the subject matter.  In an age obsessed with HD perfection itís a pleasant novelty to watch a film that, for once, actually looks like a film.  The DD 2.0 audio is adequate, if not earth-shattering, and the aspect ratio is an anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1. 

Special Features

None; the Region 4 Umbrella release is bare bones. 






 
 



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