"... one of the great modern films about big cities and the...psychic toll of living in them." There's a "Rebel without a Cause" vibe here. Disenfranchised, disillusioned, disaffected youth moving through a souless world that cares less about them than they care about it. "....as muted and slow-burning as you expect a Tsai film to be, but just as often, it’s vibrant, nervy, altogether rock ’n’ roll".
Bleak with a side of bleak. The lead has great James Dean-esque sex appeal. The taxi driver's son lacks the ability to create anything, but he's creative with methods of destruction. Not sure if anything is cut and dry, except that the woman is setting herself up for terrible heartbreak. Also, people might want to leave notes when they duck out for cigarettes. It saves agony at home.
I always say it's interesting to see a great director's first film, because it shows the raw roots for which they build upon and Tsai Ming-Liang is no exception. This film shows the genesis of the distant love triangle, which he would later perfect in his follow up film Vive l'Amour, and his use of sparse dialogue. I think what's missing here is the longer takes, which would become one of his key ingredients...
(3.5 stars) Disaffected youth is not just a western problem it seems. They're EVERYWHERE! Heh. Kind of sad, lonely and depressing throughout most of this film. However, the director does a good job of capturing the essence of these characters through looks, behavior and very brief dialogue. It's really a solid film, even if the subject matter is a little bleak.
The elements of later Ming-Liang are all here, but so is a youthful energy that would later slip away in favor of more meditative minimalism. Joy is still a possibility, though fleeting as poverty ensnares it, slowly submerging everything like the water in the apartment. Capitalistic drudgery awaits to crush these characters, as explored in the director's next film Vive l'amour.
Early Tsai; with baby-faced Lee, short takes, & plenty of dialogue... But still Tsai. A handful of alienated youth in early 90s Taipei, crossing paths arbitrarily; the contrast of big city and small fate. No one escapes the desaturation, the sound design with no foreground, the seas of people & scooters, the rain; individualities washed together. Quiet disaffection. And Tsai's eye for the beauty of small rebellions.