Seven days to the 21st century. Somewhere in Taiwan, the rain won’t stop. A mysterious disease reaches epidemic proportions… A young man uses the sizeable hole in his living room floor to spy on his downstairs neighbor, an attractive woman who stockpiles toilet paper. Meanwhile, she dreams of singing and dancing in her neighbour’s arms… A tragicomic tale of urban loneliness.
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
Elements of science-fiction blended together with Hollywood-esque musical numbers, framed and structured within a mise en scene that is typically Tsai. The result is something unique but Tsai’s traits of lengthy, static shots and dialogue only when absolutely necessary do threaten to unhinge the otherwise nice narrative idea and strong themes.
"Those luxurious Hollywood-style Hong Kong musicals of the 1950s... glorified the peace and sweetness of life, even to the point of something like decadence... (...) I use Grace Chang's songs and the Hollywood-style song and dance scenes and costumes to draw a contrast with the reality that exists outside of those scenes." Tsai Ming-liang