Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Jiao You
France/Taiwan, 2013. Homegreen Films, JBA Production. Screenplay by Peng Fei Song, Ming-liang Tsai, Chen Yu Tung. Cinematography by Pen-jung Liao, Qing Xin Lu, Woon-Chong Shong. Produced by Kang-sheng Lee, Vincent Wang. Production Design by Masa Liu, Ming-liang Tsai. Costume Design by Chia Hui Wang. Film Editing by Chen-Ching Lei. Toronto International Film Festival 2013.
Tsai Ming-Liang presents another sober, thought-provoking collection of static images and quiet moments, with takes of such incredible length and steadiness that even his seasoned fans will find themselves challenged. His stalwart protagonist Kang-sheng Lee appears as the father of two children, who works a job holding advertising signs on the freeway and at night manages a hardscrabble existence, barely feeding his children and living wherever they can squat. Other characters pierce their existence, much of it given little explanation, all of it filmed in the dreamy, hypnotic style that makes this great artist so memorable. The lack of subtle humour and musical numbers that have often punctuated his other works are missing here, the director obviously not in as jovial a mood as he usually is, but there is still a lot to take away from it given that his hold on gorgeous imagery has not abated.