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…
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Tsai obviously rejects emotional cinema, producing instead conceptual forms. The problem is that his ideas about reality are basic, and his films end up being the most boring and empty I've watched since Béla Tarr. The dream sequences, for instance, could have been thought by a child. What we have in this film are bodies, but cinema is about characters and not flesh. After 10 or 20 minutes, no one cares anymore.
(35mm, but it looks like it a 16mm: can anyone verify?) I was a bit disillusioned with the film, that has a somewhat lazy narrative — I wonder if the 69 minutes long TV cut (for Arte) is not a more cohesive one. Despite the unevenness of the film, the songs are irresistible and a genuine stun, and the hole rests toujours a mistery.
I wholeheartedly agree with MTeller. Something about this particular work seems so surrealistic yet clouded in realism. A Professor of mine back in undergrad put it best, in that it almost seems like Sci-Fi in its other-worldly presence.
"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