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.
Forest fires burn in Sumatra; a smoke covers Kuala Lumpur. Grifters beat an immigrant day laborer and leave him on the streets. Rawang, a young man, finds him, carries him home, cares for him, and sleeps next to him. In a loft above lives a waitress. She sometimes provides care and attention. More violence seems a constant possibility. They find another man abandoned on the street, paralyzed. They carry him. While no one speaks to each other, sounds dominate: coughing, cooking, coupling, opening bags; music and news reports on a radio, the rattle and buzz of a restaurant. It's dark in the city at night. We see down hallways, through doors, down alleys. Who sleeps with whom?Written by
I've attended the Singapore gala premier of Tsai Ming Liang's I Don't Want to Sleep Alone 3 hours ago, and here's the verdict: The movie calms you down, and let it search for you want. That's what the supporting actress Pearlly Chua said to the audience before the movie begins. And indeed, it calms you down.
Tsai's 1st attemp in his country of origin Malaysia has proved to be a success, despite being banned by the government back in Malaysia for portraying the other side of Malaysia, where it so happens that 2007 is a significant year for Malaysia, as it is a year where Malaysia is drawing people around the world to visit Malaysia for its beauty and unique blend of culture. However, I Don't Want to Sleep Alone tells the other side of Malaysia, in terms of the lifestyle of Malaysian Chinese and Bangladeshi workers and the surroundings, makes the government feel that the film is damaging the image of the country.
And why is that so? In the film, were were introduced to a homeless man and a paralyzed man (both played by Lee Kang Sheng, Tsai's muse cum favorite actor), a foreign worker (Norman Atun), a waitress in a neighborhood cafe (Chen Hsiang Chyi) and her lady boss (Pearlly Chua), who was the mother of the paralyzed man. The homeless man was robbed by a group of thugs and was saved by a group of foreign workers. A worker showers care and concern for the homeless man and gave him food and lodge, and a share of the old mattress found at a garbage dump. On the other side, waitress works in a neighborhood cafe and takes care of the paralyzed man. The homeless man met the waitress and share the feelings for each other by following each other around in the neighborhood.
Compared to his previous The Wayward Cloud, a musical that discuss sex, desire and crave for one another in a unusual manner (think of using watermelons to express love), Tsai is going back to his usual style of presentation in I Don't Want. Do not expect any dialogues among the cast, let alone the expression of love for each other using songs and dance. What you get is 115 minutess of peace, without any music to go along with. What you see and hear are sounds from the surroundings in our daily life. Think scrubbing of dirty clothes, the honks in a crowded traffic, songs from radio stations and Indian musicals from a home video shop.
The film greatly explores the cravings and desires every human being wants. The worker isolates himself from his peers and stick with the homeless man, the homeless man follows the waitress and eventually, the lady boss had sex with the homeless man at the backyard. Tsai uses the emotional world of ordinary human beings to explore the desires and cravings thru something that one tend to missed out from the daily life.
For moviegoers who finds 3 minutes of motionless scenes a drag, I Don't Want is definitely not a film for you. At the start of the movie, we see a paralyzed man lying motionlessly on a bed for about 2 minutes. And be prepared that for the next few scenes, it would be focused for an average of 2 minutes per scene.
And so I Don't Want works out under this formula: Malaysian film + Tsai Ming Liang = I Don't Want To Sleep Alone.
Overall, it is peaceful and quiet, without much dialogues to go along with. If you are getting tired of normal noisy flicks, let I Don't Want to Sleep Alone to cleanse your preference of movies.
Go see it. You will feel calm after the show. Malaysian film + Tsai Ming Liang = I Don't Want To Sleep Alone.
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