What Time Is It There? (2001)

TSAI MING-LIANG

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Ni Na Bian Ji dian

Taiwan/France, 2001.  , Homegreen Films.  Screenplay by Tsai Ming-liang, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  Cannes Film Festival 2001.  Toronto International Film Festival 2001.  

Tsai Ming-Liang continues to explore the individual isolation of characters, and continues to do so beautifully. This one is about a bored watch seller who falls in love with one of his customers a day before she leaves for Paris, and the film is spent watching how the two of them spend their time after having met. He begins altering clocks all over the city in an effort to align his time frame with hers in Paris, while she reacts to loneliness and isolation as a newcomer in a strange city. Having recently lost his father, he must also put up with the obsessions of his very religious mother who is constantly waiting for her husband’s spirit to return to the family. Beautiful and poetic, it is Tsai’s most accomplished work to date and a very satisfying effort. Those who watch it should also rent his follow-up short film The Skywalk Is Gone, which gives more information as to the outcome of our protagonists.

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