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Rebels of the Neon God

Qing shao nian nuo zha | 青少年哪吒

Dirigida por Tsai Ming-liang
Taiwán, 1992


Defying his parents, Hsiao Kang drops out of school to head for the bright lights of downtown Taipei. He falls in with Ah Tze, a pretty hood, and their relationship becomes a confused mixture of hero-worship and rivalry that soon leads to trouble.

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Rebels of the Neon God Dirigida por Tsai Ming-liang
It’s an exquisitely controlled movie. It’s also a nakedly desperate work, in which anguish and isolation radiate from nearly every frame. I think it’s best to start with this seeming contrast: intense emotion and rigorous calculation are commonly thought of as opposed to each other, and, outside of art, they usually are. . . . It’s probably best to say—to speculate—that Tsai, in his theatrical feature debut, found an aesthetic to go with his feelings, and feelings to go with his aesthetic.
January 10, 2018
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There is a great scene in Rebels of the Neon God when Hsiao-kang pauses in the arcade, where he has been following Ah Tze and Ah Bing, and stares at a poster of James Dean… The longing gaze that Hsiao-kang casts at James Dean suggests an echo of the ambivalent desire that Tsai’s European heroes once felt for America, and the liberation that it represented.
April 17, 2015
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Hitting US shores in the wake of his lauded 2013 feature Stray Dogs, Tsai’s first film provides a striking glimpse back into the rambunctious, uncertain first steps of a filmmaker who would grow into one of the most demanding formalists in world cinema. Yet for all the stylistic flourishes that seem so unlike the mature Tsai, many more aspects show his innate grasp on a unique aesthetic approach to filmmaking and storytelling.
April 10, 2015
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