In Taiwan, Xiao-kang, a young man in his early 20s, lives with his parents in near silence. He is plagued by severe neck pain. His father is bedeviled by water first leaking into his ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tien Miao ...
Father
...
...
Mother (as Hsiao-Ling Lu)
...
Director (as Anne Hui)
...
Girl
...
Anonymous Man
Shiao-Lin Lu ...
Mother's lover (as Long Chang)
...
Girl in Hotel
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Storyline

In Taiwan, Xiao-kang, a young man in his early 20s, lives with his parents in near silence. He is plagued by severe neck pain. His father is bedeviled by water first leaking into his bedroom and then flooding the apartment; rain is incessant. Xiao-kang's mother is overcome by sexual longing for her son, sometimes making seemingly incestuous overtures. They try virtually every intervention for Xiao-kang's neck: Western medicine, a chiropractor, acupuncture, an herbal doctor, and a faith healer, Master Liu. Are the family's silent dynamics and Xiao-kang's neck pain connected? And what about the body floating in the Tamsui River: is everything dead? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

7 August 1997 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

The River  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The director of the movie in which Xiao-Keng floats in the river is played by real-life Hong Kong director Ann Hui. See more »

Quotes

Girl: Hsiao-kang, I want to go pee. Could you turn off the lights?
[Hsiao-kang turns off the lights]
Girl: The curtains, too.
See more »

Connections

Follows Vive L'Amour (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

A dark philosophical meditation on environmental disaster
8 August 2001 | by (New York City, USA) – See all my reviews



The action of this film is so slow that I couldn't help being disturbed by the popcorn muncher behind me two rows back. It was such an existential experience, I found myself reasoning the sounds behind me were no less banal than the ones on the screen and it would do no good to complain.

This is a film that the missing time between scenes plays as much a part of the film as what is on the screen.

Like a meditative fragment from the presocratic philosophers "the River" is an assemblage of 24 sequential still images replayed to create the illusion of motion and Tsai takes each long, drawn out sequential scene and removes so much in between to maintain fluidity the audience is forced to fill in the gaps to complete the story.

Like Ingmar Bergman's "Cries and Whispers" disease is a metaphor creeping its way into the lives of a pool of people. But Tsai, has removed the beautiful image, and the mysticism. He hammers a cold story directly into the psyche. Emphasizing fleeting connections between the disconnected, "the River" is more than the filthy river that may or may not be the source of the main characters problem but a degraded class of people without hope of understanding what's happening to them.

Be prepared for a devastating and harsh illustration of gender confusion and environmental disaster.


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