Cinema Sutra: The Lover

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The Lover

The movie: As summer comes to a close, I thought I’d pick a movie that celebrated that magic combination of sex, sweat, and ceiling fans that only un-airconditioned estival months can provide. Set in 1920s Vietnam, The Lover is the story of a fifteen-year-old French girl who meets a wealthy twenty-seven-year-old Chinese businessman. He seduces her, becomeing her lover and her sugar daddy. The film is based on the 1984 novel by Marguerite Duras, who later admitted that the story was autobiographical.

The scene: When the clip begins, they’ve already met at his secret love apartment (a.k.a. pied-à-terre) for an early evening assignation (a.k.a. tryst). Naked, she waters his plants, then proceeds to water his (insert joke here).

What you need:
• Sunny room with bed (preferably in a Southeast Asian pied-à-terre)
• Ceiling fan (optional)

The mechanics: There is something especially sexy about mid-summer, middle-of-the-day roistering, and the director of The Lover (Jean-Jacques Annaud) captures it beautifully. Here are some of the elements you’re looking for:

• strong sunlight streaming through thin curtains
• a world outside that you’re escaping from and that doesn’t have a clue
• a room too warm for any clothes at all
• a ticking ceiling fan overhead that’s nowhere near strong enough to cool you down
• slithery, slippery, sweaty bodies and soaked sheets
• a minimum of conversation — it’s an affair, you don’t have much time

Amid the sexiness of all these elements, Jane March (who was eighteen at the time) and Tony Leung Ka Fai have some pretty conventional girl-on-top sex. That part I think you’ve got down. (Though he does stroke her buns with a very delicate touch. Nice.)

Lesson we learn: It’s not the positions that make the daytime dalliance exceptional, it’s the context. None of us can go back to 1929 Saigon, but some scratchy old albums can help recreate the effect. The point is that with the right hooky partner, we can make the most of hot season’s dog days, sliding body against body under the syncopated light beneath the fan blades. Come back, summer, come back!

Click here to read — and learn — more in Nerve’s Hollywood Sex Scene Database.