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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 13214 times)

ArmenianScientist

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2013, 04:09:32 AM »
Possibly my favorite contemporary director. If Stray Dogs is a masterpiece, as my trusted sources lead me to believe, it'll just cement his #1 spot for me.

1. The River (9/10)
2. The Wayward Cloud (9/10)
3. The Hole (9/10)
4. What Time is it There? (8/10)
5. Vive L'amour (8/10)
6. Visage (8/10)
7. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (7/10)
8. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (7/10)
9. Rebels of the Neon God (7/10)

Verite

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2013, 12:32:32 PM »
4. What Time is it There? (8/10)

In time, you'll bump that one up to at least a 9. 
"When in doubt, seduce."
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ArmenianScientist

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2013, 08:22:31 PM »
4. What Time is it There? (8/10)

In time, you'll bump that one up to at least a 9.

It would have been 9 if it wasn't for the last 20 minutes, which I found a bit bland. Also the clock metaphor doesn't hold a candle to the watermelon and water bottle stuff in The Wayward Cloud. *fondly remembers first watermelon scene*

Verite

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2013, 01:43:34 AM »
"When in doubt, seduce."
                   -Elaine May

MartinTeller

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2013, 10:25:48 AM »
Tsai's next film is Journey to the West... with Denis Lavant!

roujin

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2014, 11:42:45 AM »
Journey to the West (2014)

I had the basic problem with this that I had with WALKER in that for me it's fine to get lost in the details of all the stuff that's happening round Lee's character, but this type of appreciation only takes me to a certain point. The centerpiece scene where he walks down the stairs is interesting in its details and duration, but I never quite derive any particular meaning from it.

Or, to put it more bluntly (I guess): I like Tsai the best when he employs his formal strategies and innovations at the service of a more developed narrative architecture. The long takes build to something in his other films; they express more. So for me this is Tsai doing away with the thing I like the best about his films.

MartinTeller

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #26 on: March 23, 2014, 07:00:55 PM »

Journey to the West - Ming-liang Tsai's follow-up to 2012's Walker.  Again, we see Kang-sheng Lee in his monk regalia -- red robes and shaved head -- trudging slowly.  Very, very, very slowly.  Things are a little different this time, though.  For one thing, he doesn't have the plastic bag and the sandwich.  And like the walker himself, the film seems less burdened, less constrained by its concept.  The movie (at 52 minutes, twice as long as its predecessor) starts with a 7-minute close-up of Denis Levant's face.  Levant's face is thoughtful, deep, craggy... later it is presented as part of a mountainous landscape that Lee is crossing.  Later still, Levant will "shadow" Lee, matching his slow march through the avenues of Marseilles, step by painstaking step.

It is rare for a film so slow and meditative to be so full of delights.  Tsai has taken the original concept and kicked it up a notch, taking it to new places both geographically and cinematically.  Shots vary in length.  One shows a man in his apartment, seemingly disconnected from anything we've seen before... until Lee appears in the background.  One scene feels like a "Where's Waldo?" page, a busy square where one has to hunt for those red robes.  The film's centerpiece is a 14-minute shot of Lee descending a subway staircase.  Unlike the indifferent Taiwanese of Walker, the French citizens take more notice.  Several of them start to descend Lee's half of the stairway before noticing the glacial obstacle and shifting to the other side.  One little girl is transfixed by him.  Some people appear to try to strike up a conversation with him... or perhaps just about him.

Though some of these things are happy accidents (the reactions of passersby) and some are deliberate (the doubling with Levant), Tsai seems to exploring a unique "East meets West" scenario.  Is Lee's monk out of step with the world, or at least the urban parts?  Or is he simply experiencing it at a different pace?  Tsai wants us to slow down and observe.  He makes observation a sport, a game with audience participation.  Are these cultures so different?  Is the monk perhaps more at home in Marseilles than Taipei?  And what to make of the final shot, one of the most surprising shots of Tsai's career?  It's fascinating and beautiful and mesmerizing.

I was not particularly taken with Walker.  I found it an enjoyable lark but a bit empty.  This one won me over quite a bit more.  I suspect that in the long run, Stray Dogs will grow on me more and more and this will seem like more and more of a curiosity.  But this first experience with it left me breathless and a bit dazzled.  Maybe it's not as substantial or emotionally resonant as his feature films, but I think there is an evolution of his style here... a film that feels simultaneously more precise and more free than some of his previous work.  Rating: Great (90)

roujin

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2014, 10:09:22 AM »
Stray Dogs

Pushes the extreme long takes of Tsai's digital experiments in the Walker series toward greater heights by using them as part of a stylistic palette. In other words, Tsai's experiments in duration do more because they're employed more judiciously, and their use alters our understanding of not only the characters in the film, but also of the film itself. Duration used as part of a narrative strategy. The actual narrative and its Obscure Object of Desire-like bewilderment acts both as a straightforward document of lives at the edges of existence, and also a beguilingly opaque treatment of such. The physical fact of such an existence and its more mysterious underpinnings and currents coexist beautifully (I think Tsai is the only director who can make snot, piss and sweat into such defining traits of his characters). By the film's concluding shots, everything is removed but the physical fact of a tear, the controlled breathing, and the uneasy wobble of Lee's drunken sadness. Everything digital blue and black.

Totoro

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2014, 03:46:08 PM »
The Hole (A-)

Looking forward to my next.

Verite

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Re: Tsai, Ming-liang - Director's Best
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2015, 01:03:50 AM »
Stray Dogs is on Netflix Instant.
"When in doubt, seduce."
                   -Elaine May

 

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