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(aka 'Aiqing wansui')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/tsai.htm
Taiwan 1994

 

Solitude. Urban alienation.
Three searching characters lives coincide in the backdrop of a vacant apartment in the overcrowded city of Taipei.

 

Through deeply steeped cinéma vérité techniques we are introduced to, and bond with, each character while viewing them in some of their most private moments; bathing, working, weeping, attempting suicide, making love, masturbating, scarfing down food etc...

Vive L'Amour, winner of the 1994 Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is a masterful modernistic approach to examining the hollowness of society through intimate portrayals of three emotionally waning characters.

May Lin, played by Kuei-Mei Yang, is an attractive realtor who uses a sparsely furnished listing for a sexual dalliance with a rootless street vendor named Ah-jung whose meager efforts to pursue her are detailed with no verbal communication. The physical confrontation they share is, like most of the film, speechless and hence devoid of any intimacy.

Hsiao-kang (played by Kang-sheng Lee) is a sexually confused crematorium urn salesman who has stolen the key to the apartment and performs bizarre and often comedic episodes there, including an attempted suicide. He does this not for the intention to fulfill the act, but rather to enhance his life with any form of intimate dramatic gestures, something each of the three characters crave in the vast metropolitan sprawl they are apart of.

The geometry of the half furnished apartment lends itself to sterile bleak isolation paralleling the lives of May, Lee and Ah-jung who each reside there but hardly co-exist with little to no interaction either on the multiple levels of the unit or within the same room together. The lack of communication is an ailment of the societal disease that is explored through the examination of their aimless activities whilst away from the apartment. They work, but seem to form no bond with other members of society. As each character bathes alone it gives them pause for reflection on the emptiness of their lives. They, in turn, immerse themselves in the water attempting to shut out the distancing that their cold-calling sales work has given them with outside world.

The film may have influences from Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky with its long continuous takes and precise framing and Michelangelo Antonioni with the prevalent theme of urban isolation clinging subtly to the sparse narrative. The literal translation of the title is "long live love" which appears to be more of a request than a statement in this case. I enjoyed this film immensely and give it a very strong recommendation but will preface that with the comment that its stringent styling is not to everyone's tastes, but it is a favorite film of mine. I think it is perfect. out of

Gary W. Tooze

 

  A poster that has nothing to do with Tsai's film

Theatrical Release: September 14th, 1944 - Toronto Film Festival

Reviews          More Reviews          DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Bitwin- Region 3 - NTSC vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

   

North Americans:

Rest of World:

Distribution Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:56:44  1:56:40  1:56:55.000
Video 1.64:1  Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1.70:1  Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Disc Size: 22,598,169,208 bytes

Feature Size: 21,881,290,752 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.93 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-2 Video 1080P

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitwin

Bitrate:

Fox / Lorber

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0)  Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio Chinese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, Korean, Chinese Simplified, none English, (burned-in) English, traditional Chinese, Chinese Simplified, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Bitwin (Korea)

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.64:1

Edition Details:

• Production Credits (text screens)
• Filmographies and Awards *text screens)

DVD Release Date: September 10th, 2003

Book-style digi-Case
Chapters: 5

Release Information:
Studio: Fox / Lorber Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.70:1

Edition Details:

• Production Credits (text screens)
• Filmographies and Awards *text screens)

DVD Release Date: May 21st, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 5

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Music Entertainment (TW))

Disc Size: 22,598,169,208 bytes

Feature Size: 21,881,290,752 bytes

Average Bitrate: 21.93 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-2 Video 1080P

Edition Details:

• None on Blu-ray
• Bonus DVD also includes cast and director interview

Blu-ray Release Date: April 28th, 2011
Book-style Blu-ray digi-Case
Chapters: 12

 

Central Pictures Corporation has digitally remastered six classic films from the 80s and the 90s, producing brand-new digital prints that guarantee to overcome the test of time. After Dust in the Wind, four more of these films are arriving in high-definition on Blu-ray for fans to see these films the best way they have ever looked before.

Edward Yang's The Terrorizers

Chen Kuo Fu's The Personals Yu-Hsun Chen's Tropical Fish Ming-Liang Tsai's Vive L'Amour Hsiao-hsien Hou's Dust in the Wind

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Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - (May 2011) - This is the same 'Sony Music Corp.' that gave us the Dust in the Wind Blu-ray (reviewed HERE) of Hsiao-hsien Hou's film. While that was interlaced - this is MPEG2. So the 1080P image, on a single-layered disc, is imperfect but a significant improvement over the DVD transfers. I can't speak to colors (blue overtones) but assume they are more correct - certainly the vibrancy and detail have escalated. What is also notable is that there is a large amount of additional information in the frame - mostly on both side edges.

The case is unique (see image below) - although fans can be picky and want congruity to their blossoming Blu-ray collection as they sit on their shelves.

Audio (linear PCM) is kind of a non-event as there is hardly any dialogue in the film and no score. When words are spoken (Mandarin) they are audible but subtitles have some grammar missteps - which I forgive since I don't believe there is any important sub-text to those communications. There is no hiss or drop-outs. My Momitsu has verified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.  

Before the film we get a few words from director Chen Kuo-Fu  on the restoration (removing dirt, print damage, stabilizing the frame/color grading etc.) of these 'Taiwan New Cinema' films that have been revamped and digitally remastered by the 'new management' of the Central Pictures Corporation of Taiwan. Then there are some split-screen samples (the menu itself does this as well for Vive L'amour). This introduction into the tranfer is about 2-minutes long with some eventual caveats that they cannot improve upon the source of synchronization issues. There is nothing on the Blu-ray in terms of extras.

There is a second disc - a dual-layered DVD in its own case that has the feature film and a 30-minute piece -> a subtitled 'interview' with Tsai. It has some merit as an interesting discussion on the film. Before this the same 2-minute 'intro' on restoration is shown.

Okay, despite the notable mistakes -> subtitle translations (not fatal), the MPEG2 transfer as opposed to AVC and sharing the 'interview' on the same DVD as the feature when it could have more easily fit on the Blu-ray disc - I am not deterred as I am such a big fan of the movie and this is the best way to see it outside of a retrospective (Good luck!). It was my introduction to Tsai and for many years it was in my top 10 films of all time. While I can forgive those authoring mistakes - for most the price is out-of-line. I can only recommend to those BIG fans of both the film and the director. Personally, I LOVED seeing it so improved from the DVDs. Perhaps it will come on sale one day. Let's hope. I'd endorse if it was 50% of the current price. As for now - few would consider it being worthy of the $40 US price tag.

***

ON THE DVDs: I recently viewed your comparison of Tsai Ming Liang's Vive L'amour and was wondering if you noticed that Bitwin region 3 version is censored. The scene where Lee Kang-sheng enters the tub naked was edited so that we can't see his butt. Fox Lorber, even though it has inferior image quality, has a uncensored version of him entering the tub. (Thanks - Mitchell)

***

Well, both DVDs leaves a bit to be desired. I didn't find excessive examples of 'combing' or 'ghosting' in the Fox but the Bitwin shows some pronounced 'combing' in horizontal pans telling us it is not progressively transferred. Both are non-anamorphic widescreen with the Fox being cropped in certain areas. The subtitles are ingrained on the Fox and removable on the Bitwin with the inclusion of English, Korean and Chinese.

In regards to the image the Bitwin is sharper with far better color separation.  On the Fox the colors can tend to bleed a bit and overall appears to be a bad Video transfer (flatline bitrate dead giveaway). Neither should be considered the definitive edition at this stage and with the director gaining popularity (and this one of his strongest films) perhaps there is hope for a better 16X9 progressive transfer in the offing. This remains one of my most watched DVDs solely for the film itself and from that standpoint we recommend the Bitwin which is the superior of the two.

NOTE: The Bitwin comes in a very cool book-style case!

Gary W. Tooze

 

Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Package

 


Menus

 

(Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC LEFT vs. Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT)


 

Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

DVD included with Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE BELOW  TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

Individuals may rejoice at seeing Kang-sheng Lee's bare bum signifying the BLU-RAY is NOT the censored version of the film!

 

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC - TOP

2) Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures

 

Central Pictures Corporation has digitally remastered six classic films from the 80s and the 90s, producing brand-new digital prints that guarantee to overcome the test of time. After Dust in the Wind, four more of these films are arriving in high-definition on Blu-ray for fans to see these films the best way they have ever looked before.

Edward Yang's The Terrorizers

Chen Kuo Fu's The Personals

Yu-Hsun Chen's Tropical Fish

Ming-Liang Tsai's Vive L'Amour

Hsiao-hsien Hou's Dust in the Wind

North Americans:

Rest of World:

North Americans:

Rest of World:

North Americans:

Rest of World:

North Americans:

Rest of World:

North Americans:

Rest of World:

 

DVD Box Cover

   

North Americans:

Rest of World:

Distribution Bitwin - Region 3 - NTSC Fox / Lorber - Region 0 - NTSC Sony Music Entertainment (TW) - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 





 

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Gary Tooze

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