Tale of Love
Directed by: TRINH T. Minh-ha
Co-directed by: Jean-Paul BOURDIER
Production and Lighting Design by: Jean-Paul BOURDIER
Music By: The Construction of Ruins, and by Shoko Hikage
Voyeurism runs through the history of love narrative, and voyeurism is here
one of the threads that structure the "narrative" of the film.
The film also works with a subtly "denaturalized space of acting."
In the way the shots and the dialogues are carried out, both spectators
and actors share the discomfort of voyeurism: the unnaturalness of those
who "look without being looked at" (i.e. the makers, the spectators)
versus the self-consciousness of those who "know they are being looked
at while they are being watched" (i.e. the actors).
of Love is loosely based on The Tale of Kieu, the Vietnamese national
poem of love, written in the early 19th century, which tells of the
misfortunes of Kieu, a martyred woman who sacrificed her "purity"
and prostituted herself for the good of her family. The poem has become
a metaphor for the often-invaded Vietnam. Director Trinh's transformation
of The Tale of Kieu into contemporary American life unfolds [with] The
modern-day Kieu, caught between two cultures and torn between economic
necessity and sensuality, also has to find the path of her own desire
while selling the image of her body and encountering the "tales
of love" of the people around her.
-from the Asian Art Museum catalog
"Unique contribution to the cinema. Trinh's experiment...captures
the unadulterated and elemental sensations that characterize a state
of being in Love. The film presents to its audience partial views, saturated
colors, elliptical narratives... A Tale of Love is a film that
must be savored."
-Deb Verhoeven, World Art
"Nothing else around is even remotely like it...beautiful...aggressive
music score and oddly contraptual mise en scene....At times a frankly
erotic film that interrogates its own eroticism, it challenges the audience
as well with its acting styles."
-Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader