Browsing: Taiwan

Reviews Millennium Mambo Review

Vicky (Qi Shu), the twenty-something at the center of Hou Hsaio-Hsien’s Millennium Mambo, is stuck in a rut. Long after dropping out of high school, and far from any reasonable, sustainable lifestyle (which would hypothetically include gainful employment, and hypothetically not filled with hard drugs and a controlling, abusive boyfriend), Vicky …

Reviews Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.42.06 PM

Beginning at a somber, unadorned graduation ceremony as a young class exits the school to embark on a summer vacation before their next educational adventure, the class speaker’s voice touches plainly on the persistent contradicting emotions that come with such a transition: the pain and sadness of saying goodbye, with the understanding that …

Film Festival Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 8.07.02 PM

Those of us that have seen Hou’s Three Times probably have a pretty good idea of our preference for each segment. Some fall for the 60’s pop infused romanticism of the first segment, some for the post-modern nihilism of the third segment, virtually no one falling in the second segment camp. It wasn’t until my recent rewatch of the film that I ….

Reviews The-Puppetmaster-TIFF

Continuing our journey through the films of Hou, we come to uncharted waters with his 1993 film, The Puppetmaster (1993). This is a film that recounts the events in Taiwan leading up to the beginning of World War II and Japanese occupation. It tells this story through the eyes of Taiwan’s preeminent puppeteer …

Reviews TheSearchForGeneralTsoFeat

Food-documentarian Ian Cheney understands the classic documentary form of starting with a simple question, which through the journey of answering it, can reveal surprisingly complex answers. His documentary, The Search for General Tso, opens with a food …

Berlinale 2014 journeytothewest_1-1

Critical favourite Tsai Ming-liang teams up with Lee Kang-sheng for a third time (after the recent Walker and Walking on Water), as the latter assumes yet again the role of the Bhuddist monk who treads the world with the slowest of motions. On this occasion, Kang-sheng’s hyper-languid mobility is set against the backdrop of Marseilles, from the rubble of a ruin to the front of a tea room by way of the seaside. While the film consists almost entirely of patience-testing shots of the monk as the city life bustles dynamically around him, its opening shot is an extreme close-up of Denis Lavant’s face, a landscape of crevices, imperfections, shadows and distinctive sadness.


“When I woke up this morning I realised my relationship with glasses is over,” states the optician employer of family man Weichung in the opening moments of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, handing his underling his business with a convenience that’s so contrived it must be something more. And so indeed it is, as he opens his umbrella and drifts off into the sky, like a dour middle-aged Asian Julie Andrews: such semi-fantastical strangeness is part of the peculiar charm of this lovely little Taiwanese movie by the American-born director Arvin Chen. Much like Mary Poppins, his is a film focused on recognising the life- and love-stilting limitations of the systems with which we’ve surrounded ourselves.

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