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.
From Gregg Araki to Wong Kar-wai, the 90s were alive with rich cinematic visions of youth and urban alienation. Tsai Ming-liang’s debut might be the best of both worlds: a cast of melancholy souls tirelessly search for themselves in Taipei’s streets and find what or may not be a false idol…
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.
it's like closely following the lives of three little ants in a massive ant colony, watching them struggle and suffer every moment, then realizing all these millions of ants you haven't been paying attention to are going through the same, and then realizing you're ant too
Highly stylized, and we really do get a feeling of how shitty their lives are, but ultimately this one left me feeling pretty empty and I was glad when it ended. New digital restoration/USA theatrical release. 3.5 stars.