tsai ming liang is a director or should you even say an auteur who is really a strange bird in Chinese or in world cinema. this movie continues his same oddball line of work. it is perfectly suited for a highbrow art-house film lover who knows how to appreciate the overly and painfully long scenes completely incomprehensible storytelling and heavy symbolism all of which are mixed together to create an utterly boring movie that lasts more than two hours. the spectators gluteus maximus muscles are put to a tough test to get through the yawning experience...
director's previous works have been as peculiar or even more peculiar as this movie (to say the least - in "he liu" made in 1997 the father and son even end up in the same bed to have sex!) so i strongly recommend them only to a very elitist (western) viewer who wants to have recognition for his/her excellent taste (to get totally bored) and who still thinks postmodernism is a relevant mode to make movies.
it is indeed a real pity because i think the story could have had relevance to tell something important and revealing about taiwanese society but now all the potential substance to make a point is mostly wasted.
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