Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Visage
France/Taiwan/Belgium/The Netherlands, 2009. JBA Production, Homegreen Films, Musée du Louvre Paris, Tarantula, Circe Films, Arte France Cinéma, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Government Information Office of the Republic of China, Nederlands Fonds voor de Film, Eurimages, Région Ile-de-France, Arte France, Tax Shelter ING Invest de Tax Shelter Productions, CinéCinéma, Department of Cultural Affairs Taipei City Government. Screenplay by Tsai Ming-liang. Cinematography by Pen-jung Liao. Produced by Jacques Bidou, Marianne Dumoulin, Ming-liang Tsai, Vincent Wang. Music by Jean-Claude Petit. Production Design by Patrick Dechesne, Alain-Pascal Housiaux. Costume Design by Christian Lacroix. Film Editing by Jacques Comets. Cannes Film Festival 2009. Toronto International Film Festival 2009.
Tsai Ming-Liang was commissioned by the Louvre Museum to make a film set within its walls, and the artistry of this Taiwanese master has not been in any way diluted by its unusual setting (he has actually made a film in Paris before, What Time Is It There, in which he first collaborated with Jean-Pierre Léaud). Tsai puts his usual mesmerizing, challenging style towards a tribute to his beloved Francois Truffaut, featuring his usual star Kang-sheng Lee as a filmmaker whose production seems to be beset by stalled energy. Fanny Ardant (who is also Truffaut’s widow) is luminous as a producer who is frustrated by technical difficulties and the mysterious personality of the film’s star (Leaud), while Laetitia Casta performs musical numbers (lip-synching to Mandarin) that display Tsai’s love of classic musicals. It will be frustrating hell for the more conventional viewer, while those who have loved this incredible filmmaker’s earlier works like The Hole will be thrilled.