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 am always a little surprised to see negative reviews of Tsai Ming-Liang films in web communities populated by film enthusiasts. And that's not because I'm about to argue that all film enthusiasts should like Tsai Ming-Liang movies, far from it. Rather, what surprises me is that film enthusiasts -- people motivated enough to have IMDb logins and, further, motivated enough to write reviews -- would be unfamiliar enough with Tsai Ming-Liang and his work, prior to viewing any particular film, that they could end up being surprised by what they get. Like all of Liang's films, this is a very, very, VERY quiet movie. That's the whole point: long takes, minimal dialog, you get out of it what you're prepared to concentrate hard enough on to see the subtlety of. I own all of his films and I watch them again and again -- and that doesn't make me a better person than the other reviewer, either. He's an acquired taste and if you don't like quiet, light-brush-stroke movies you won't like this guy's stuff. But I can't imagine anyone not knowing all of that before they start, and then complaining about it afterward.
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