Taipei. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2000, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao. She's young, lovely, and aimless. He's a slacker. Cigarettes and ... See full summary »
When a young street vendor with a grim home life meets a woman on her way to Paris, they forge an instant connection. He changes all the clocks in Taipei to French time; as he watches ... See full summary »
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. His father is bedeviled by water first leaking into his ... See full summary »
The film focuses on three city folks who unknowingly share the same apartment: Mei, a real estate agent who uses it for her sexual affairs; Ah-jung, her current lover; and Hsiao-ang, who's ... See full summary »
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 »
A-yuan and A-yun are both from the small mining town of Jio-fen. In the city, A-yuan is an apprentice by day and goes to night school, and A-yun works as a helper at a tailors. Everyone ... See full summary »
Da-Nian is a young man from Taipei. He goes to a remote village and works as a substitute teacher. He and Su-Yun, another teacher at the school, fall in love. There are several students in ... See full summary »
Taipei. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2000, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao. She's young, lovely, and aimless. He's a slacker. Cigarettes and alcohol fuel her nights. We see bits of her life: when Hao-Hao steals his father's Rolex and the police detain them; when she gets a job as a club hostess, where she meets Jack, who becomes her patron and protector; when Hao-Hao comes to the club, insisting on talking to her; when she visits Yubari, Japan, for its film festival in the dead of winter; when Jack must go to Japan to straighten out trouble caused by one of his acolytes. Does Vicky have any expectations? Does time simply pass? Written by
A hollow life is observed clinically but sympathetically in this melancholy, graceful film, which is itself hollow but compelling, like the dance beat it is set to. The director uses a convention I hadn't seen since early silent films: a summary description of an action, followed by its acting out. Also, the story is narrated from a time yet to come. These devices create the sense that the events have happened before--as they have, in the cyclical, purposeless life we are witnessing--and also that they are inevitable. The story is narrated in the voice of the leading character, but in the third person: an older self from a real future? or an alternate reality? or only her imagination? The narration is necessary as a comment on the characters' behavior because in the numb and mindless hedonism that draws them in and keeps drawing them (she keeps leaving the boyfriend who embodies this life style but keeps returning to him) they are never shown as capable of thought. Whether the film means to say that, or is simply limiting its view and depth of field to exclude their thoughts as peripheral to their lives, this lack works to unconvince us. The characters are shown in attitudes of thought but never speak anything like a thought, even a stupid one; they are moved entirely by want and impulse. The hedonist boyfriend is shown as having friends; how? Nobody not brain-dead exists in a state of pure mindlessness. That is the view of parents whose adolescent refuses to talk to them: who can understand these kids? This film describes a life--and this is an interesting accomplishment, but a relatively narrow one. More difficult, in this milieu, and ultimately more interesting would have been to discover the person whose life it is (or will have been).
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