Along with Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang became one of Taiwan’s most prominent directors during the 1990s. His films regularly appeared in festivals around the globe and he received lavish praise from film critics worldwide. Born in Malaysia in 1957, Tsai moved to Taiwan and graduated from the Chinese Cultural University in 1982. For the next ten years, he worked in theater and writing screenplays for films and television. He directed his first feature in 1992, Rebels of the Neon God, which, with its tough but tender depictions of disaffected youth, earned him comparisons to Rainer Werner Fassbinder. In addition to Fassbinder, Tsai was also influenced by François Truffaut, to whom he was exposed as a student. His style differed from his idol Truffaut’s, however, like his countrymen Yang and Hou, Tsai preferred long takes, few close-ups, and sparse dialogue. And like another of his influences, Michelangelo Antonioni, he displayed a genius for placing the camera at… read more
despite all his major influences (clearly Fassbinder and Antonioni incommunicability films), his peculiar way of seeing the world and put it on screen is quite unique. i'm just obsessed.
I think one of the most overlooked aspects of his work (and to me why he is superior to comparable filmmakers like Antonioni and Tarkovsky) is his use of humor. Both Antonioni and Tarkovsky can be too solemn and heavy handed in their "artness" for their own good, specially Tarkovsky who takes himself just too damn seriously.