A strange disease starts to affect people in Taiwan just before the year 2000. The authorities order everyone to evacuate, but some tenants of an apartment building stay put, including a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
The Woman Downstairs
...
The Man Upstairs
Tien Miao ...
A Shopper
Hui-Chin Lin ...
A Neighbor
Hsiang-Chu Tong ...
The Plumber
Lin Kun-huei ...
The Kid
...
(voice)
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Storyline

A strange disease starts to affect people in Taiwan just before the year 2000. The authorities order everyone to evacuate, but some tenants of an apartment building stay put, including a shop owner who lives by himself. One day, a plumber goes to the shop owner's apartment to check the pipes. The plumber drills a small hole in the floor, which comes down through the ceiling of another apartment. The hole never gets repaired, and this leads to some tension between the shop owner and the woman who lives below him. Written by Patrick Lin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A search for intimacy in a world of disaster.

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Musical

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Release Date:

24 March 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Hole  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

References A Song of Love (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Wo yao ni de ai
Performed by Grace Chang
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User Reviews

 
Very creative; a masterpiece
11 March 2002 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

In the final days of the year 1999, most everyone in Taiwan has died. A strange plague has ravished the island. Supposedly spread by cockroaches, the disease sends its victims into a psychosis where they act like the insects. Eventually, they die. The Hole takes place in a crumbling apartment building (which is especially well created; kudos to the set designer!). Its two protagonists live right above and below each other. The woman is on the lower floor, and the pipes above her apartment are leaking fiercely, threatening to destroy her food supply, not to mention her sanity. She calls a plumber to go check it out, and he accidentally pokes a hole through the floor of the man's apartment. The two have never met before, and they come into contact through the hole.

The script is quite brilliant. Few films are simultaneously this funny while remaining completely human, deeply exploring the human condition, especially feelings of loneliness and despair. Tsai's direction is simply beautiful. Like a lot of other Taiwanese directors, he uses a lot of long takes. But unlike, say, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Tsai doesn't overuse them. In fact, I don't know if I've ever seen them used better. They're always effective and never tedious.

It would be wrong to review this film without mentioning the musical numbers. Yes, The Hole is also a musical, and a great one, at that. In the film's best scenes - which is saying something, considering how good all the other scenes are - the man imagines that the woman is a singer, almost a cabaret singer. These numbers are fully choreographed, often with backup dancers and singers. In a stroke of genius, Tsai has these elaborately produced numbers take place in the crumbling building, the signs of apocalypse and decay unhidden. This provides both a sense of pathos and absurdity.

The Hole is a film that begs to be seen. It ought to be a cult classic, if nothing else. Before I went to see this, I was told that it was a decent film, but probably Tsai Ming-liang's least good one. Well, if that is true, I just cannot wait to see another one! 10/10.


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