16 user 54 critic

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (2006)

Hei yan quan (original title)
A day laborer is badly beaten, and a young man nurses him back to health.


Ming-liang Tsai


Ming-liang Tsai

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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Directors: Aditya Assarat, Sun Koh, and 4 more credits »
Stars: Lu Huang, Kang-sheng Lee


Cast overview, first billed only:
Kang-sheng Lee ... Hsiao-Kang
Shiang-chyi Chen ... Coffee-shop Waitress
Norman Atun Norman Atun ... Rawang
Pearlly Chua Pearlly Chua ... Coffee-Shop Boss
Lee-Lin Liew Lee-Lin Liew ... Coffee-Shop Tea Maker
Leonard Tee Leonard Tee ... Light Seller
Su-Yee Toh Su-Yee Toh ... Boss's Second Son (as Samantha Toh Su-Yee)
Kok-Fai Chiew Kok-Fai Chiew ... Boss's Grandson
Rong-Sin Chan Rong-Sin Chan ... Estate Agent
Kok-Choy Loh Kok-Choy Loh ... Financier
Shiva Shiva ... Indian worker
Mohammad Rani Bin Baker Mohammad Rani Bin Baker ... Magician
Rusli Bin Abdul Rahim Rusli Bin Abdul Rahim ... Hooligan
Azman Hassan Azman Hassan ... Hooligan (as Azman Bin Muhammad Hasan)
Hariry Jalil Hariry Jalil ... Hooligan (as Muhammad Hariry Abdul Jalil)


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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Malaysia | China | Taiwan | France | Austria


Min Nan | Malay | Mandarin | Bengali

Release Date:

23 March 2007 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone See more »

Filming Locations:

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,377, 11 May 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,136, 29 July 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2007 (#10, tied with "Ne touchez pas à la hache" and "Sang sattawat") See more »


References Last Images of the Shipwreck (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Probably my least favorite Tsai film, but still very good
18 November 2007 | by zetesSee all my reviews

This may be Tsai's first film set and made in his homeland of Malaysia, but he doesn't stray at all from Tsaiville. Which isn't much of a problem, really, if you're a fan of the director. Sure, we could complain that he's been hitting the same notes for eight features now, but there are artists in every medium that are like this. Either we get sick of it, or we like it and we stick with it. I'm sticking with Tsai. His moods and rhythms haunt my mind. He captures images like no other director, and he's definitely one auteur whose work you could identify from just one shot (granted, you have about ten times as many frames in that one shot as you do in your average auteur's work!). I Don't Want to Sleep Alone is probably my least favorite of all of his films (all of which I've seen except his previous, The Wayward Cloud – I've seen the first five minutes and am aching to finish it). This is mostly because I wasn't too sure what was going on through much of it. The plot seems to concern a young Chinese man (played by Tsai's boytoy/regular Lee Kang-sheng) who gets beaten senseless in Kuala Lumpur. A construction worker saves him and nurses him back to health, mostly with lustful intentions. But when the Chinese man is up and about, he goes off and sleeps with some women, which understandably pisses off his savior. Then there was a bunch of stuff I didn't quite understand, notably a guy in a coma (also played by Lee Kang-sheng). A lot of my favorite shots involved that guy, but I'm not 100% sure what was going on in that plot line. The images here are top notch, and though there is little dialogue, Tsai's use of sound – and music – is wonderful. Much as Tsai uses Taipei, Kuala Lumpur is an area of urban alienation. Late in the film smoke drifts over from a nearby Sumatran forest fire, covering the city with a thick haze. Many of the scenes are set in a crumbling building (not quite sure what this was all about, really), which reminds me of the post-apocalyptic landscape in my favorite Tsai film, The Hole. I actually think I might have enjoyed this more had I watched it when I was less tired. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I want to give it another chance with the awful DVD, courtesy of Strand Releasing. It's cropped, for one thing. The image also looks a lot less crisp than any of Tsai's other films, though that may have been his stylistic choice this time around.

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