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San tiao ren (1999)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 344 users  
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The protagonist is Asano who has had an amazing memory since his youth spent in Okinawa. Words have tangible shapes, tastes and colours for him. This goes so far that he is not even able to... See full summary »

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Title: San tiao ren (1999)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Asano
Georgina Hobson
Christa Hughes
Kevin Sherlock ...
Kevin
Mavis Xu
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Storyline

The protagonist is Asano who has had an amazing memory since his youth spent in Okinawa. Words have tangible shapes, tastes and colours for him. This goes so far that he is not even able to forget words once he has heard them. He travels the seas and because 'Hong Kong' feels wonderful, he goes ashore there. He chances upon the Dive Bar, that soon turns out to be the haven of comfort he has been seeking since his youth. The bar is run by the flamboyant, hospitable Kevin, who is also an alcoholic, eclectic lover and a perfect confidant to Asano. But Kevin keeps forgetting all kinds of things and that gets him into trouble sometimes. Words seem only to stand in the way of the relationship between Asano and Kevin... Written by Bastiaan van Gestel <geste002@wxs.nl>

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Release Date:

7 August 1999 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Away with Words  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
"Egg is an old lady and the chicken is her stick"
2 October 2004 | by (amsterdam) – See all my reviews

Let's do NOT 'AWAY WITH WORDS' when texts are so full and enigmatic and fun that they can even solve the enigma of the chicken and the egg !

Or produce gems like some of the monologues of character Kevin:"Memories, that's what I forget; I remember happy things. If happy things are what I remember, will that mean that I am sad when I forget ?"

This debut film of DIRECTOR Christopher Doyle, who must be the hottest photographer of the past 15 or so years, is stunning, exciting and beautiful. And that is not only meant for the imagery, which IS indeed breathtaking.

What is this film... Hard to say, even though the post scriptum speaks of Dada and Automatic Writing, which is a hint in the right direction, I guess. The two male principal characters might very well be two sides of the same personality, or mind. And Susie, the leading lady, is Mother Nature, nurturing and trying to keep Yin & Yang together. Certainly, every theory is as good as the next one, but there might well be some truth in this:

Kevin, to Asano:"Susie says you could write a book from what I can't remember..."

This film is full of memories and mirages and, maybe, mirrors. So could this be a Tarkovsky with an hangover ? Hmmm, unlikely; and if so, would he have been drinking beer ? With Kevin ??! ...

Everything here is so varied, so divers, so haunting; the music, the imagery, the words, oh yes, the words too.

I have seen this film three times back to back and it doesn't let go for a moment. It keeps being surprising and spellbinding. Thank Goodness there are cineasts who know that a good film ought to linger on in the mind of the viewer. Some of the biggest filmmakers knew that; it's the reason why Kubrick's '2001' is a sensational classic and Spielberg's 'Close Encounters' merely a pretty good film. The first ends with a question, the latter with an answer.

Let's hope Christopher Doyle will be allowed to direct and write some more films !!!

'Not Forgotten. Just Misplaced'

PS: for those who are looking for this film on DVD: the very pleasant eBay seller 'fullhousedvd' has this title for sale from an Asian label. As he also has Doyle's cinematography work in the fabulous Thai movie 'Last Life In The Universe', as well as the documentary 'Buenos Aires Zero Degree; The Making Of Happy Together'. Well worth a visit...


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