Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Lover

Photographed By Ellinor Forje

Summer is just around the corner, and I, for one, am still sticking firmly to my new year's resolution. The one I made back in 2010 that is.

I'm catching up on my reading list. It's a mile long and keeps getting longer because I keep adding novels that weren't previously on the list. Like the semi-autobigraphical tale "The Lover"* by Marguerite Duras. I saw it in the bookstore the other day while magazine browsing and recalled, "Ah, yes, the movie!"

The screen adaptation, narrated by Jeanne Moreau, plays out in Vietnam - then French Indochina, was shot, or mostly shot on location. The story centers around The Young Girl played by Jane March and her forbidden love affair with The Chinaman played by Tony Leung Ka Fai. Their liaison is unsanctioned because of their age difference, and the colonial and cultural landscape of 1929. Their shared pain is additionally mutually inflicted.

The first scene opens with The Young Girl, now older woman, reflecting on her life and the aging of her visage which has been brutal. Her face is destroyed. Unlike the frightening portrait of Dorian Gray; in a way that fascinates her. Then we see her, the way he sees her for the first time, in her cabaret shoes, champange coloured dress paired with a fedora. "It's original. A man's hat on a young girl". She's beautiful and poetic. Albeit her sadness is permanent. Her life is complex.

"The Lover" is an underrated and somewhat forgotten film. It's visually impressive and, of course, erotic, although I personally think it would have benefited from more depth and lenght (I could add another dimension here but I won't). Yet, it was considered controversial when it came out in 1992, which goes to show how far we've come as a society when what is deemed contenious in the year 2014, is a hasthtag on "Vogue". Seriously. I really had no intention of ever kommenting on the kover. However, I have to say (or sing) with a Marvin Gaye vocal rise, Anna why is Yeezus on the front page?

*There are two versions of this book. The other is called "The North China Lover" and is written in screenplay format as opposed to the first version which is a narrative. Just found out and I feel cheated.


  1. Without Jeanne Moreau's voice-over the film would collapse.

  2. Gorgeous. Love Marvin Gaye also!

  3. Le morso, Anna's Song de Marvin Gaye -

  4. The book reminds me of 'Lolita'. The other side.