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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Tsai Ming-Liang

Tsai Ming-Liang is considered among the most important film directors nowadays.

A Chinese born in Malaysia in 1957, he came at 20 to Taiwan. He studied film at the Chinese Culture University in Taipei. After graduating in 1982 he worked as a theatrical producer, screenwriter, and TV director in Hong Kong. Then he came back to Taiwan and started making great films. He can be framed in the so-called Second New Wave of Taiwanese directors, together with Ang Lee, as well as with Hou-Hsiao-Hsien and Edward Yang (these two covering also the First New Wave).

Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the universe of which of these places does he belong to? Says he, I can go anywhere I want and fit in, but I never feel that sense of belonging. It's a subtle form of alienation, which some suggest has been mirrored by his films.

Here are some common features of his movies (as I found them systematized on imdb): long, fixed shots; his characters frequently have difficulty communicating their emotions with others and with themselves; rarely uses a traditional musical score in his films, with the exception of several 1930s Mandarin pop songs; very little dialogue; there are floods, leaks, and drafts of wind prominently featured in most of his work; prominent ambient sound; characters who often experiment with their sexuality or their bodies; running water or the sound of running water.

I would try to speak more of him, but firstly I would try to review one of his movies, The Wayward Cloud, made in 2005.

(Taiwanese Cinema)



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