6.6/10
4,102
32 user 58 critic

Tian bian yi duo yun (2005)

Hsiao-Kang, now working as a pornographic actor, meets Shiang-chyi once again. Meanwhile, the city of Taipei faces a water shortage that makes the sales of watermelons skyrocket.

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9 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Hsiao-Kang
...
...
Mother
...
Taiwanese Porn Actress
Sumomo Yozakura ...
Japanese Porn Star
Huan-Wen Hsiao
Hui-Xun Lin
Kuo-Xuan Jao
Shu-Mei Hung
David Yang
Huan-Wen Wu
Yu-Wei Chang
Xun-You Chou
Lee-Hsing Huang
Tian-Fu Hsu
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Storyline

Metaphor, allegory. There's a drought in Taiwan. Watermelon are abundant and become juice, food, something to share with a guest, and an aphrodisiac. In a large building of flats, Hsiao-Kang and Shiang-chyi's paths cross; she knew him when he sold watches, now he acts in pornographic films. She scavenges for plastic water bottles. He bathes in the building's cistern. Fantasy song and dance numbers punctuate the characters' nearly aimless pursuits: she has lost her keys and he helps her find them; he naps in a park, she watches; he smokes on the floor beneath her kitchen table while she sits. His film-making continues. Can they connect? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

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Release Date:

18 March 2005 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

El sabor de la sandía  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many audience members left the theater during the final scene at the Berlin International Film Festival's screening. See more »

Quotes

Shiang-chyi: [to Hsiao-Kang] Do you still sell watches?
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Connections

References Papillon (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Tong qing xin
Performed by Grace Chang
Originally from the film Ye mei gui zhi lian (1960)
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User Reviews

 
The Wayward Cloud
20 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

The English title is given as "The Wayward Cloud". I saw this film in Taipei where the director, Tsai Ming-liang, stopped in for a surprise speech before the show. (Wouldn't it be great to meet the director before every film instead of sitting through the assault of those damned previews, previews evidently aimed at folks who are deaf and dumb?)

He spoke informally for a few minutes just to assure the audience that he intends the film to have _redeeming social values_ -- as US lawmakers used to say. This seems necessary because the government in Taiwan spent 2 weeks meeting with consultants to decide whether or not to censor the film. They let it show uncut.

That is to say, don't bring your kids to see this -- but adults will be able to see that it is not porn, but rather a critique of porn. This is a simplification, since the main theme of the film is general alienation. The wayward cloud and the drought in the film are shown to be symbolic of the emotional and interpersonal "drifting" and "dryness" that each scene highlights. The film shows how porn is merely one symptom of people's awkward attempt to connect with each other on a deeper level.

The film is unusual in style, (see previous user comment) so don't expect it to imitate Hollywood conventions. It is recognizably in Tsai Ming-liang's previous grim and dim style (i.e., "The Hole" and "The River" and "What Time Is It There?") but here he adds a lighter note of wit to that.

Personally I don't enjoy musicals, but the handful of musical interludes in this film are delightfully surreal and humorous, and while they address heterosexuality, the aesthetic is gay in both senses of the term. I especially liked one of these, where a smiling state statue of historical dictator Chiang Kai-shek is the central prop for a tongue-in-cheek erotic song & dance troupe of lovely ladies. Also the music in itself is attractive since we don't usually get to hear those old songs from Shanghai in the '30s and Hong Kong in the '60s.

The final scene officially raises the bar for the visionary use of a sex scene to reflect on alienation. Those who remember the historic shock of "Last Tango in Paris" (Bertolucci's "Ultimo tango a Parigi") so many years ago will see what I mean by raising the bar. It will make its own peculiar mark in underground film histories.


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