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 »
A strange disease starts to affect people in Taiwan just before the year 2000. The authorities order everyone to evacuate, but some tenants of an apartment building stay put, including a ... See full summary »
When a young street vendor with a grim home life meets a woman on her way to Paris, they forge an instant connection. He changes all the clocks in Taipei to French time; as he watches ... See full summary »
The film focuses on three city folks who unknowingly share the same apartment: Mei, a real estate agent who uses it for her sexual affairs; Ah-jung, her current lover; and Hsiao-ang, who's ... See full summary »
Tsai Ming-liang returns with this latest entry in his Walker series, in which his monk acquires an unexpected acolyte in the form of Denis Lavant as he makes his way through the streets of a sun-dappled Marseille.
Forest fires burn in Sumatra; a smoke covers Kuala Lumpur. Grifters beat an immigrant day laborer and leave him on the streets. Rawang, a young man, finds him, carries him home, cares for him, and sleeps next to him. In a loft above lives a waitress. She sometimes provides care and attention. More violence seems a constant possibility. They find another man abandoned on the street, paralyzed. They carry him. While no one speaks to each other, sounds dominate: coughing, cooking, coupling, opening bags; music and news reports on a radio, the rattle and buzz of a restaurant. It's dark in the city at night. We see down hallways, through doors, down alleys. Who sleeps with whom? Written by
This is a strange film, very strange, and not the type of film to get a release outside of a festival. There was virtually no dialogue for two hours - mostly visuals with background noises and music (played in the scene, not dubbed over). We see various strugglers in the streets and buildings of Malaysia and get a strong sense of alienation.
The film is almost a photo essay, constructed largely of beautifully composed shots of urban decay. There's the flooded building site, modest abodes, a huge butterfly and the surreal-looking streets choked in smoke from Indonesian bushfires. The film challenges an audience's patience and I was surprised there were only a few walkouts at the Melbourne International Film Festival I attended. My partner left after 90 minutes, and shortly after a little more action started to appear.
A sex scene interrupted by the smoke was amusing. The final take is particularly poignant and poetic. The film is not something I would generally recommend to mainstream audiences, but if you like something unusual during a festival, it might be worth a look in. Just be prepared to be patient.
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