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What Time Is It There? Review


Good
Tsai Ming-Liang has garnered some deserved recognition for articulating difficult emotions through the mundane actions of every day life. How more simply can a lack of motivation be expressed than when watching a character urinate into a water bottle (no frontal nudity, don't worry) placed beside his bed instead of getting up to go to the bathroom, not 10 feet from his bedroom door?

In What Time is it There?, like his previous work with The Hole and Vive L'Amour, Ming-Liang utilizes long, ponderous, closely-framed shots of characters amidst detailed backgrounds that reveal more about their lives than anything that could come out of their mouths. It's not whether the character is clean or dirty so much as the items in their lives that make up these traits. There is virtually no dialogue. Together, these elements create the thrill of unpredictability. There seems no reason for the camera to linger on a specific moment, and there are no recognizable clues as to what will happen next. It's a fascinating, but irritating, way to keep your attention focused on screen. You never know if a character is going to speak or what reaction they will have to a given situation, if any at all.

Continue reading: What Time Is It There? Review

What Time Is It There? Review


OK

After opening with a static, four-minute shot of an old man sitting in a chair, the conceptual Taiwanese drama-comedy "What Time Is It There?" does pick up a bit -- but there's an element of that cinematic passivity in evidence throughout the rest of the film.

At its heart are three interconnected stories just begging to be infused with a little clever commotion, which director Tsai Ming-Liang keeps in short supply even though he's quite daring and creative in his quiescent observational style.

One story is about the old man's forlorn widow (Lu Yi-Ching), who becomes obsessed with coaxing her husband's spirit to return to their home. The second follows the old man's son (Lee Kang-Sheng), a street vendor who falls instantly in love with a girl (Chen Shiang-Chyi) who buys a dual time zone wristwatch from him on her way to the airport for a flight to Paris. The girl's trip to the City of Lights then becomes the third narrative.

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Lu Yi-Ching Movies

What Time is it There? Movie Review

What Time is it There? Movie Review

Tsai Ming-Liang has garnered some deserved recognition for articulating difficult emotions through the mundane actions...

What Time Is It There? Movie Review

What Time Is It There? Movie Review

After opening with a static, four-minute shot of an old man sitting in a chair,...

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