The Lover


In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.

Release Year: 1992

Rating: 6.7/10 (7,631 voted)

Jean-Jacques Annaud

Stars: Jane March, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Frédérique Meininger

It is French Colonial Vietnam in 1929. A young French girl from a family that is having some monetary difficulties is returning to boarding school. She is alone on public transportation when she catches the eye of a wealthy Chinese businessman. He offers her a ride into town in the back of his chauffeured sedan, and sparks fly. Can the torrid affair that ensues between them overcome the class restrictions and social mores of that time? Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Maugerite Duras.

Writers: Jean-Jacques Annaud, Gérard Brach


Jane March

The Young Girl

Tony Leung Ka Fai

The Chinaman

Frédérique Meininger

The Mother

Arnaud Giovaninetti

The Elder Brother

Melvil Poupaud

The Younger Brother

Lisa Faulkner

Helene Lagonelle

Xiem Mang

The Chinaman's Father

Philippe Le Dem

The French Teacher

Ann Schaufuss

Anne-Marie Stretter

Quach Van An

The Driver

Tania Torrens

The Principal

Raymonde Heudeline

The Writer (end)

Yvonne Wingerter

The Writer (beginning)

Do Minh Vien

The Young Boy

Hélène Patarot

The Assistant Mistress

She gave her innocence, her passion, her body. The one thing she couldn't give was her love.

Release Date: 30 October 1992

Filming Locations: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Gross: $4,899,194

Technical Specs


(R-rated version)
(unrated version)
(25 fps)

Did You Know?


Cécile Fleury said that she was the body double of Jane March for some nude scenes of this film. But the spokesman of Renn Productions (which produced this film) said to Daily Mail that Cécile Fleury was only a stand-in for technical purposes – a common practice to spare a film's stars from tiring sessions under studio lights while scenes are set up. "This girl was only used for lighting purposes when scenes were being set up. She has not been used in the shooting at all," the Renn Productions spokesman said.


[first lines]

Very early in my life, it was too late. At eighteen it was already too late. At eighteen I aged. This aging was brutal. This aging, I saw it spread over my features, one by one. Instead of being frightened by it, I saw this aging of my face with the same sort of interest I might have taken for example in the reading of a book…

User Review

sex blinds you and you do not see the film


L'Amant is a very beautiful, haunting and sensual film. The characters are
perfect and acted in a minimalist way that's refreshing.

I see here that the main objections to this film are:
1 .. Not enough character development
2 .. The film does not have a clear direction to where it's
3 .. Too slow
4 .. Too much sex (for some people if a film has explicit sex it can't be

All these objections are pointless:

1 .. The characters here are ordinary people, not that interesting by
themselves. It's the love story that's interesting. Both of them know they
have no future and try to pretend it's not love. I am sick of films in
the characters are sure they love each other after 30 minutes of

2 .. The fact that this film does not follow a clear path it's one of it's
qualities. It adds more drama and the characters themselves are confused
don't know where they're going. The whole film plays like a dream of love
and to request "clear direction" it's pointless.

3 .. Ahh! The "too slow" argument. There are films in this world that make
you think about you, your life and the world that's around you. Surely you
need some TIME to reflect on that. Short attention-span is a bad thing

4 .. This film is about love. The fact that they are shown having sex
them real persons, with real bodies not some film characters. Sex is an
escape from the world around them and I don't think it's too much, too
explicit or some nonsense like that. It's so hard to have a film with sex
it that's not trivial! This is a masterpiece by this fact

The persons who "though up" these arguments took the main strengths of the
film and complained about them. This for me it's proof enough that they
didn't understand this film or that the film didn't struck a single chord
their soul. Short attention span is the main plague of films now and the
lack of it is the reason the french make such great films! Please try to
it again and not in a hurry. It's not light cinema! It's great