IMDb > The River (1997)
He liu
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The River (1997) More at IMDbPro »He liu (original title)

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The River -- US Home Video Trailer from Wellspring


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7.4/10   1,616 votes »
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Release Date:
7 August 1997 (Taiwan) See more »
In Taiwan, Xiao-kang, a young man in his early 20s, lives with his parents in near silence. He is plagued by severe neck pain... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
5 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Watch it and enjoy it-it's great! See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Tien Miao ... Father
Kang-sheng Lee ... Kang-Sheng, Xiao-Kang
Yi-Ching Lu ... Mother (as Hsiao-Ling Lu)

Ann Hui ... Director (as Anne Hui)
Shiang-chyi Chen ... Girl
Chao-jung Chen ... Anonymous Man
Shiao-Lin Lu ... Mother's lover (as Long Chang)
Kuei-Mei Yang ... Girl in Hotel

Directed by
Ming-liang Tsai 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ming-liang Tsai 
Yi-chun Tsai 
Pi-ying Yang 

Produced by
Shun-Ching Chiu .... producer
Hu-pin Chung .... executive producer
Li-Kong Hsu .... producer
Shih-Yuan Lin .... line producer
Shih-Fang Wang .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Pen-jung Liao 
Film Editing by
Sheng-Chang Chen 
Chen-Ching Lei 
Production Design by
Tony Lan 
Art Direction by
Pao-Lin Lee 
Set Decoration by
Nien-Chiu Cheng 
Mu-Shan Kuo 
Costume Design by
Wang Yu 
Makeup Department
Pei-Wen Yen .... additional hair stylist
Pei-Wen Yen .... additional makeup artist
Chou Zenia .... hair stylist
Chou Zenia .... makeup artist
Production Management
Chih-ming Huang .... production manager
Hui-Chin Lin .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pei-Chun Chen .... assistant director
Ming-Tai Wang .... assistant director
Sound Department
Din-I Hu .... foley artist
Yuan-Feng Tsao .... foley artist
Ching-Ang Yang .... production sound mixer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Marie Chao .... wardrobe mistress
Other crew
San-Ling Chang .... overseas coordinator
Helen Dei .... script supervisor
Yi-Mei Luo .... overseas coordinator


Additional Details

Also Known As:
"He liu" - Taiwan (original title)
See more »
115 min | Germany:116 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The director of the movie in which Xiao-Keng floats in the river is played by real-life Hong Kong director Ann Hui.See more »
Girl:Hsiao-kang, I want to go pee. Could you turn off the lights?
[Hsiao-kang turns off the lights]
Girl:The curtains, too.
See more »
Movie Connections:


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24 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Watch it and enjoy it-it's great!, 11 March 2002
Author: fabreu from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Tsai Ming-Liang offers viewers in "The River" an honest chance to take it or leave it right from the first sequence. If you make it through and enjoy (or rather, are puzzled by) this first sequence - a film shooting in a river, depicted in a long, almost real-time pace - you will for sure be caught in his stream, because what follows is simply great, original, surprising, offbeat, funny, alarming and often mind-boggling.

Tsai is a Taiwan filmmaker whose cinematic grammar apparently owes a lot to Westerners - especially to Europeans. You can spot Truffaut in his love for his characters, in the way he always casts his favorite actor Lee kang-Sheng much in the way Truffaut did with Jean-Pierre Léaud, and in the mysterious and surprising ways love expresses itself in his films.

You can feel the influence of Antonioni in the long sequences without dialogue or music, in the urban chaos leading to lack of communication between the characters, in the forces of nature (the heavy constant rain, the omnipresence of water in this case) responding to "civilization's" abuse - the echologic chaos.

You can feel a touch of the Godard of "Le Mépris" in the total lack of communication between very close people (the couple in Godard, the family here) and the kind of non-conform sexuality of the Pasolini of "Teorema" (sexual repression and catharsis among the family members, in both cases).

But Tsai has got something all his own. I've seen now all his feature films and it's very impressive to see how he has developed a language of his own, through his imagery, his pace, his actors' performances, his conflicts, his endings. He is sure to always include unforgettable sequences (here, for sure, the sequence in the sauna between father and son) that will haunt you, delight you, disgust you, move you and stay with you long after you've left the theatre. That's a rare accomplishment in any visual arts these days.

For me, "The River" is surely Tsai's masterpiece to date, a film that flows slowly, harmoniously, hauntingly, effortlessly to its destination, catches you in its stream, and leads you to a free-meaning ending - which, in this case, is something warmly welcome.

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