The film is primarily about the loneliness of urban sprawl and how three people occupying the same flat attempt to find a way out of their isolation. At first they manage to miss each other entirely through hiding and by chance, even though they’re living together.
Eventually they begin to intersect, and while I don’t want to spoil how the plot develops, I will say it has a very bleak ending that contrasts starkly with the title.
The ending is cryptic indeed, but here’s my take:
May sits by herself in a park. She is not alone as there is another person sitting near her, but it’s just the same as anyone else in a large city—proximity isn’t familiarity.
This is made all the more poignant as she begins to sob uncontrollably. She openly weeps in desperation, venting her loneliness and lack of connection out for all the world to hear—but of course her isolation is complete as no one, not even the man sitting near her, turns to comfort her in any way.
She cries for entire minutes, and finally calms herself. She lights a cigarette and the film ends.
I theorized that the ending was showing that people in urban landscapes and lives not only share her predicament, but embrace it—that her sobbing was actually just as orgasmic as desperate, complete with the after sex cigarette. It is an affair she has with her loneliness. It’s all she gets, and it’s all she needs.
“Watch it now”:http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2B213672D4A7D2A9
One of my favourite Tsais, Josh! Oh my goodness, that last scene that you described just kills me. It’s so perfect, as Tsai pans over the park.
This is random, but I love the appearance of the watermelon as a bowling ball too. :P
Tsai does loneliness and ennui like none other! What an amazing filmmaker. Thanks for this!
As if i wasn’t already convinced, mention of a watermelon bowling-ball pushed me over the fence.
Thanks for the YouTube link! Bookmarked.
My favorite Tsai film. The Golden Lion was well-deserved.
My favorite Tsai film too :)
The very last shot (don’t watch it unless you’ve seen the whole film):
Weren’t we just talking about this? Where’s Peter Murphy?
That was over in the Cinema21 Tsai topic- http://mubi.com/topics/8172?page=3