Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Dong
Taiwan/France, 1998. Arc Light Films, Central Motion Pictures, China Television, Haut et Court, La Sept-Arte. Screenplay by Tsai Ming-liang, Pi-ying Yang. Cinematography by Pen-jung Liao. Produced by Peggy Chiao. Music by Grace Chang. Production Design by Pao-Lin Lee. Costume Design by Vivian Ming Chou. Film Editing by Ju-kuan Hsiao. Cannes Film Festival 1998. Toronto International Film Festival 1998.
Tsai Ming-liang’s theme of alienation in the modern world is revisited with exceptional grace and assuredness in this wonderful comedy-drama. Two apartments located on top of each other in a Taipei building are connected by a hole in the floor of one and the ceiling of the other. The resident in each dwelling is a solitary individual who finds him or herself connecting in all possible ways thanks to this physical and emotional gap in their lives, all the while fighting off a terrible virus that is affecting the citizens of the city and turning them into photophobics. To cap it off, Tsai throws in a bunch of classic Grace Cheung songs all lip-synched by the leading lady and performed with delightfully campy zeal. Powerful and affecting, this one is not for all tastes but is a must for those with a taste for something truly out of the ordinary.