Tsai Ming-liang

Tsai Ming-liang

Tsai Ming-liang Quick Links

News Film RSS

Venice Film Festival Awards Diverse International Lineup Of Films, With Italian "Sacro GRA" Taking The Highest Honor


Tsai Ming-Liang

Sacro GRA – an unassuming documentary about life on the ring road, circling Rome, directed by Venice Film Festival regular Gianfranco Rosi, surprisingly came out as the frontrunner and won the festival’s Golden Lion distinction yesterday (Saturday, September 8.) Sacro GRA’s win came as something of a surprise, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Not only was the film not considered a favorite to win, but it is the first Italian film to win in seventeen years and the first documentary in the festival’s history to take the prestigious award.

The winners’ list was quite a diverse one, as Greek director Alexandros Avranas won the Silver Lion for best director with his Miss Violence. The film is a dramatic account of an 11-year-old girl’s apparent suicide. An investigation is started into Angeliki’s death, but her family insists that it was just a tragic accident. The film did remarkably well at the festival. Besides winning the Silver Lion, Miss Violence also earned its lead actor Themis Panou, the Copa Volpo for best actor.

The Silver Lion for best actress went to Elena Cotta playing a stubborn woman in a traffic feud in Via Castellana Bandiera. The film was dramatist Emma Dante’s debut in film direction.

Continue reading: Venice Film Festival Awards Diverse International Lineup Of Films, With Italian "Sacro GRA" Taking The Highest Honor

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone Review


Excellent
He's back. Tsai Ming-liang, master of slow-moving image-laden tales of urban disconnection, returns to all his favorite themes (and his favorite leading man) for the tenth time with I Don't Want to Sleep Alone. The amazing thing: he's as fresh as ever, especially since this time around he's left Taiwan behind.

Working in his native country of Malaysia for the first time rather than in Taipei, where most of his movies are set, Tsai takes us into the seedy underbelly of hot and dangerously smoggy Kuala Lumpur, where we tag along with a merry band of impoverished immigrant Bangladeshi construction workers who are lugging an old and stained futon to their hovel. To them, it's a treasure. Along the way they run into a homeless guy (Tsai's main man, Lee Kang-shen), who's been brutally beaten while trying to out-con a con artist. One of the workers, Rawang (Nathan Atun), takes responsibility for gently nursing the poor guy back to health and enjoys sleeping next to him with a not-quite-platonic vibe.

Continue reading: I Don't Want to Sleep Alone Review

The Wayward Cloud Review


Weak
It's all in the timing: Tsai Ming-liang's long-awaited follow-up to Goodbye, Dragon Inn finally finds distribution and, what one would assume to be, a mouth-agape audience at New York City's Anthology Film Archives. A sort of festival myth, The Wayward Cloud premiered at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival, was released on DVD in Asia and then began to find itself popping up in small festivals all over the U.S. As much as you love to see a film so elusive and divisive finally get an open forum, The Wayward Cloud finds Ming-liang in a rut and unable to elevate his neon wilderness to the heights of the rest of his consistently fascinating oeuvre.

Following What Time is it There? and the short The Skywalk is Gone, The Wayward Cloud catches up with the watch-salesman-turned-porn-star and the unaffected object of his obsession. The opening scene (one for the books) shows Hsiao-Kang (Ming-liang standby Lee Kang-sheng) sexually violating a watermelon placed between the thighs of a female porn star. While he is tending to his craft, Shiang-chyi (Chen Shiang-chyi) sits in her apartment, all zombied up by her television set. Their chance meeting occurs in a small outdoor booth in a sunny park, where a small spark is relit that sets off the beautiful mess that follows.

Continue reading: The Wayward Cloud Review

The River (1997) Review


Weak
Poor Xiao-Kang (Kang-sheng Lee). He went for a swim in a dirty river and now he's got a massive pain in the neck.

Xiao's attempts to fix that pain amount to the bulk of The River's running time, and you'll have to be an extremely patient film critic to suffer through Tsai Ming-Liang's (What Time Is It There?) ponderation on... well, nothing in particular.

Continue reading: The River (1997) Review

What Time is it There? Review


OK
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

Goodbye, Dragon Inn Review


Good
It's raining in Taipei again. Anyone familiar with Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang's work knows that his world is a wet one, where rain pours down constantly on decrepit concrete buildings, faucets drip, urinals overflow, and puddles are everywhere.

In Goodbye, Dragon Inn, the decrepit building is the Fu-Ho Theater, a large movie palace that on this, its last night of operation, is showing the 1966 Chinese kung-fu classic Dragon Inn. At first glance, the theater is packed with people. At second glance, it's almost deserted, a strange mystery that leads to the first line of dialog, which comes along more than half an hour into the film: "You know this theater is haunted." What we have here, among other things, is a ghost story, Tsai's take on the belief of superstitious Chinese people that all movie theaters are haunted.

Continue reading: Goodbye, Dragon Inn Review

The River Review


Weak
Poor Xiao-Kang (Kang-sheng Lee). He went for a swim in a dirty river and now he's got a massive pain in the neck.

Xiao's attempts to fix that pain amount to the bulk of The River's running time, and you'll have to be an extremely patient film critic to suffer through Tsai Ming-Liang's (What Time Is It There?) ponderation on... well, nothing in particular.

Continue reading: The River Review

Tsai Ming-liang

Tsai Ming-liang Quick Links

News Film RSS