Poll

What's your favorite film by Ming-liang Tsai?

haven't seen any
7 (23.3%)
don't like any
1 (3.3%)
Rebels of the Neon God
4 (13.3%)
Vive L'Amour
0 (0%)
The River
1 (3.3%)
The Hole
5 (16.7%)
What Time Is It There?
2 (6.7%)
The Skywalk Is Gone
0 (0%)
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
4 (13.3%)
The Wayward Cloud
4 (13.3%)
I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
1 (3.3%)
Visage
0 (0%)
Walker
0 (0%)
Stray Dogs
0 (0%)
Journey to the West
1 (3.3%)
No No Sleep
0 (0%)
Your Face
0 (0%)
Days
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 30

Author Topic: Tsai, Ming-liang  (Read 13239 times)

MartinTeller

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2012, 01:35:56 PM »
Right, should've mentioned that. It's streaming here. Legally.

Awesome, thanks!

roujin

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 09:17:43 PM »

The River (Tsai Ming-liang, 1997)

Like in Vive L'amour, although the main characters share the same physical space, they never seem to remotely connect with each other. In fact, although, if you're familiar with Tsai's films, you know that these are Lee's parents, the film for a sizable amount of time never even bothers to link the characters together; it actually comes as a surprise later when you find out that they all live together. The dad cruises saunas for some loving, the mom has an affair with some random guy, and Lee apparently does nothing. You get your usual water stuff as sexual desire, urban alienation, deadpan absurdity; it's typical, not exactly surprising. My favorite moment of the film is when Lee Kang-sheng is in the hospital and his mom and dad walk past him without recognizing him - another vital image to add to Tsai's overall project on modern disconnection.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 01:02:27 AM »
I definitely felt some disconnect going on when I watch that film.  :P

1SO

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 03:29:32 PM »
1. The Wayward Cloud
2. The Hole
3. Journey to the West

4. The Skywalk is Gone
5. Rebels of a Neon God
6. What Time is it Over There?
7. Walker
8. The River
9. Goodbye Dragon Inn
10. Visage
11. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
12. Vive L'Amour

« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 12:35:18 AM by 1SO »

MartinTeller

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 03:34:38 PM »
I guess I should be happy that none are in the red.

roujin

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2013, 04:11:48 PM »
Rebels of a Neon God (Tsai Ming-Liang, 1992)
So, Tsai does a Wong Kar-Wai movie? Cuz this is kinda what this feels like. Or, more accurately, it's his youth picture. There's that trademark stillness and stuff but there's so much movement than in any of his latest films (musical sequences in The Wayward Cloud not counted). And when I say youth film, I think you should get the idea that it's basically about young dudes riding bikes, lot of smoking cigarettes, staring off into space Asian Ennui . But it's good! Very good! For all those reasons and more, I guess. Basically, well, there's no basically, actually. Now I feel weird about this. There's two parallels stories being told. One about Hsiao-Kang about how he's quitting his school and about his general awkwardness around his parents. The other about a couple of dudes who steal coins from phone booths and other stuff and use the coins to play arcade games (and then a girl comes along...). Of course, these story lines intersect... but in a totally weird and playful way (which turns into something else later on...). It's just Lee Kang Sheng observing. And going places just to see these people there. And, weirdly, that's something I can relate to... (like there's this one scene where they all get drunk and go to a motel cuz they don't know where the girl lives, they throw her on the bed and just sit around watching porn on the TV for a little while, just exhausted... THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME AND I DON'T KNOW WHY). People are strange and weird and the things they do or don't do don't make sense to me but when the film finishes and you see a door opening you know things might just turn out awwwwwriiiiiiiiiiiight. You're all horrible people. Now watch this and stuff.


Vive L'Amour Tsai Ming-Liang, 1994
Tsai's characters drift through Taipei, hopelessly alone. Somehow each of our three main character at some point ends up sharing the same apartment. Lee Kang-sheng's character sneaks in to take baths or to eat watermelons. A real estate agent brings back a young guy to have sex with him. The young guy grabs a key and starts spending his nights there. Basically, we share the same space and yet we're still wanting, we're still alone, locked inside our own desires. One of the film's main funny parts is when the two dudes realize the girl is in the apartment with them and they have to sneak out. It's funny, sure, but there's pain behind that - even in the same apartment, we hide from others. The film is seriously just empty, just as the character's lives are, which is why the film's final moments come off as heartbreaking as they do. You're not entirely sure why these tears are necessary, why you're even feeling this way, but you just know, know, that something is wrong with your life; that this can't be all there is. I related, obviously.

What Time is It There? (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2001)
I intended to go all chronological with Tsai but it didn't work out that way (I lost my copy of Vive L'Amour somewhere...) Anyway, this is a fantastic film. I don't really know what to say about it. I kind of expected it to be a little boring but after a while I just started getting into the rhythm of the movie and the thought that "nothing is happening" quickly went away. In fact, the film is teeming with incident. Hsiao-Kang goes out into the streets after meeting a woman who's going to Paris and starts changing all the clocks to Paris time. Why does he do this? I don't really know. The woman he meets goes to Paris for no reason we ever know, wonders around, looking alone but not lonely? The film's best moment is the synchronized reach toward something. Well, you'll know the moment. Lest I make the film sound like nothing but Asian Ennui , I should also mention that it's startlingly funny. There's these little visual punchlines every once in a while that are both kinda sad but also, well, funny. My two favorites may be when Fatty, the fish, eats a cockroach and the dude who steals Hsiao-Kang's clock in the movie theater (that's gotta be one of the funniest things ever). And Jean-Pierre Leaud haunts the cemeteries of Paris, Hsiao-Kang watches The 400 Blows and it's apparently Tsai's favoritest movie. Hmmm, I need to watch The Skywalk is Gone now and then wrap it up with THE WAYWARD CLOUD. TSAI-FEST

The Skywalk is Gone (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2002)
The connective tissue between What Time Is It There? and The Wayward Cloud that sets up that film's porn/water shortage shenanigans. The girl comes back from France looking for the street vendor but... look at the title. It's typical that they actually do walk past each other at one point but only one of them recognizes the other... and then does nothing about it. Anyway, it's interesting (the camera moves!) but not nearly long enough to truly get into it.


The Wayward Cloud* (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2005)
And I did! I'm really glad I watched it again. The first time the only thing I registered was this: long static takes, weirdo sex scenes and bizarre musical numbers. Now, after watching What Time and The Skywalk is missing, I think I'm closer to... well, something. It feels like a damn angry movie in its depiction of pornography as an essentially dehumanizing force. There's a shot of a woman's face post-money shot that's grotesque and bizarre. The film's sex scenes are all without pleasure and they're often ridiculous. One of them has Hsiao-Kang having sex with a woman in the shower. However, since there's a water shortage, the film crew has to use water bottles to recreate the water in the shower and at one point they run out before Hsiao-Kang, uh, finishes. There's also some scenes that suggest a romance that could be. Tsai has a weird homage to Annie Hall in there as the couple pick up crabs from the kitchen floor and the film's most loving image is that of Hsiao-Kang taking puffs from a cigarette that's being held in Shiang-chyi's toes. The film's most daring and shocking moment is its final 30-minute (?) or so set piece that will probably seal the deal on your view of the movie. It's both disgusting and oddly touching. skjerva, you should see this immediately... It's like the decade's weirdest musical romance!

Those clouds at the end of The Skywalk is Gone make a lot more sense now...

Goodbye, Dragon Inn Tsai Ming-Liang, 2003
Probably a little too minimalistic. I mean, this movie made me sleepy at 8 AM after I had eight hours of sleep. I dug the whole last breath of the experience of going to watch a movie or even treating moviegoing as a communal experience. It's almost like an elegy or something except with ghosts and strange Japanese dudes looking for other dudes to have "connections" with and all that stuff. Sometimes it lingered way too much (although it's a nice contrast to the stuff King Hu is doing in the movie up there on the screen). Sometimes, it was just so minimalistic that it became comedic. There's this one shot that consists of nothing but the woman looking at some kind of cake (one of those steamed buns thingies?) for god knows how long, and I'm like, huh, weirdo roujin experiments. I also got curious as to the actual geography of the theater. There's scenes were people are amblin' around in these totally leaky and strange corridors and hallways that seem to be in a totally disconnected part of the theater. Anyway, this is probably the worst place to start with Tsai, I'm guessing, since it's probably his most extreme and lacks pretty much all of the narrative pleasures and coincidences and oddball humor (minus a couple parts which I'll talk about in a second) that his other ones have, but it was interesting, at least, thematically and stylistically, duh. But I did like the sense of space he conveys, I guess. Nobody does corridors like this guy! Uh, probably my favorite part of the movie (and the funniest) is that one scene in the restroom that goes on forever. These dudes are peeing for like five minutes! And the best part is that one dude pulling up his cigarette ever so slowly every once in a while and taking a slow puff and then putting it back down. Maybe after all the other ghostly emptiness, a nice joke was needed to wake up the roujin.

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
The first film I've seen by Tsai Ming-Liang but it probably won't be the last. My main problem with the film is that sometimes the style makes everything too obtuse. Perhaps I wasn't paying enough attention or something but the way that the story is told, or presented rather, made it really hard for me to make the connections between the characters. I remember reading a post of sdedalus that said that this film was much more straight-forward than his other ones (which scares me) and also that he had a much easier time figuring out the relationships between people. I'm not sure what that says about me as a viewer :|

I did like it though and it was worth watching it just for the final seconds which are incredibly beautiful


Visage Tsai Ming-liang, 2009
I'm pretty sure this movie would make no sense without seeing at least a few of Tsai's other movies. The movie is some kinda bizarre Tsai version of Day for Night, even going as far as to cast Leaud (looking so so old) as one of the main actors. Not to mention casting Fanny Ardant (she actually looks at a picture of Truffaut once while next to a little shrine for Hsiao-Kang's dead mom). Tsai really makes a point of highlighting Leaud's oldness, actually. There's a direct cut from stills of the ending of The 400 Blows to Leaud looking all old and bedraggled. The entire movie also seems to be an auteurist house of mirrors (The Lady From Shanghai is named checked along with a bunch of other directors) where all of Tsai's little motifs can just mingle and hang around or something (water, the dead not quite being dead, the ending harkens back to another one of his movies). I don't know how much of it makes sense, but it's always pretty fascinating, even if by the end I was a little tired of it. Unfortunately, it's not as emotionally coherent as his other films, and even by crazy standards, it doesn't top The Wayward Cloud. Still, the Matthieu Amalric in the woods hook up is awesome.


« Last Edit: July 20, 2021, 03:20:27 PM by 1SO »

MartinTeller

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2013, 05:18:12 PM »
Great writeups, rouj!  I agree on pretty much everything, especially GDI.  Rebels does indeed feel like a WKW movie.

Totoro

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2013, 08:25:47 PM »
So, netflix has

Goodbye, Dragon Inn
What Time is it There?
The River
I Don't Want to Sleep Alone

Best place to start?

MartinTeller

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2013, 08:28:16 PM »
What Time is it There? is the entry point for most people.  I Don't Want to Sleep Alone isn't a bad choice either.  Definitely not GDI.

Verite

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2013, 08:56:12 PM »
What Time Is It There?
"When in doubt, seduce."
                   -Elaine May

 

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