While never-ending rain and a strange disease spread by cockroaches ravage Taiwan, a plumber makes a hole between two apartments and the inhabitants of each form a unique connection, enacted in musical numbers.
Tsai Ming-liang returns with this latest entry in his Walker series, in which his monk acquires an unexpected acolyte in the form of Denis Lavant as he makes his way through the streets of a sun-dappled Marseille.
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 François Truffaut's "Les 400 Coups," she has a strange encounter with its now-aging star, Jean-Pierre Leaud. Written by
Films in their nature is an experience of the extroverted. We see another person suffer, we see their emotional state through actions and their facial gestures. Some films however, managed to use this extroverted medium to express introspection. 'And What Time is it there?' accomplished this perfectly. But in order to do this, the film can not be rushed. For the longer a shot can substain within a time frame but remain interesting, the longer the audience have to concentrate. In due time, the aduience have to actively think about the scene and they will somehow perform this introspection within themselves. If a film can do that to an audience, it is a masterpiece. Of course there are as many interpretations to this film as people say it is slow moving. But for me, it is a philosophical journey, where the changing of time is an indication of desires and wanting to escape. Since the protangonist can not go there, he decided to change his environment instead. But of course, we can also see this as an indication of the lack of progress in life, of wanting to turn back time and the drift into isolation and loneliness. But as we can see, this hope is trivial but its existence is necessary for one's own survival. So in an outsider's view, the actions may look irrational or pointless, but amongst the circular motions of repetition of fears and anger, it is these very action itself that gives life a purpose.
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