utorak, 30. listopada 2012.

Tsai Ming-liang - Walker

 walker (4)
 walker (1)
 walker (7)

Novi kratki film čudesnog Tsai Ming-lianga: budistički redovnik - pognute glave, s pecivom u jednoj i plastičnom vrećicom u drugoj ruci - puževi korakom, ali zaista užasno spooooooro, hoda užurbanim Hong Kongom. To je jedan od odgovora na pitanje "što je lijepo" u omnibusu Beautiful 2012.

...cijeli film  na Vimeu.

Beautiful 2012

Dirs: Kim Tae-yong, Tsai Ming-Liang, Gu Changwei, Ann Hui. China. 2102. 90mins

Four ‘micro-movies’ produced by Youku, China’s leading internet television site, make up Beautiful 2012, a coming together for four short films from award-winning Asian directors that have at their core the concept of ‘what is beautiful?’ while also mulling over life, death and unhappiness.
The styles of the four filmmakers are all very different - two are fiction-style and two documentary-style - in tone and content, but all are singular and absorbing pieces. As a film Beautiful 2012, which in China will be seen on Youku’s online platform, would be an easy fit in any film festival, while Tsai Ming-Liang’s delightfully shot film Walker could also work as a gallery installation.
Beautiful 2012 opens with South Korean director Kim Tae-yong’s You Are More Than Beautiful, about a man hiring a young woman named Young-Hee to pretend to be his fiancée to try and show his ill father he is getting married. When his father slips into a coma he pays the woman at the hospital, but she slips into his hospital room and in a charmingly beautiful scene stands and sings a Korean opera song to the father (in a room with five other seriously ill elderly men).
Second up is Tsai Ming-Liang’s Walker, which takes an unusual look at the bustling streets of Hong Kong as its features a series of stunningly shot scenes with at the centre a red-robed monk who walks at a snail’s pace. With traffic and pedestrians speeding around him the man (head intensely bowed, bare feet and holding a bread roll in one hand and a plastic bag in the other) walks only a step every minute.
Gu Changwei’s Long Tou - also shot documentary style - features a series of characters who dwell on the realities of expectation, punctuated by a series of memorable shots ( a cat stalking and jumping onto an air conditioner unit; an elderly man dragging a series plastic bottles; a weight-lifter practicing his moves and a child blowing bubbles) and nice use of music.
The film wraps with Ann Hui’s My Way - starring Francis Ng and Jade Leung - about a pre-op transsexual man nervously waiting for his operation. It is a stylishly melancholic film, and defined by the moment when he goes to the hospital for the operation, goes to sleep in the male ward (next to a newspaper reading old man) and wakes as a woman in the female ward…and finally indulging in a smile of relief and happiness. - www.screendaily.com/

Na YouTubeu inače ima nekoliko starih Tsai Ming-liangovih filmova.

The Hole (Dong) (1998):

 What Time Is It Over There (2001)

Recent Taiwanese films screened in the U.S.—Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Flowers of Shanghai, Edward Yang’s Yi Yi , and all of Tsai Ming-Liang’s work—have constituted, if not exactly a movement, then at least a recurring trend. Although each director has a distinctive style, themes of urban solitude and dissonant relationships recur. Minus any sort of manipulative tear-jerking or bemoaning of brand-name existence, the films create a more elusive, quieter impact than Hollywood’s family dramas and tales of urban malaise.
Tsai goes another step, infusing his movies with evocatively contemporary moods: paranoia, desperation, and absurdity. As in his previous works, such as Vive L’amour and The Hole, the characters in What Time Is It There? rarely speak with one another, except in bursts of argument. The people who inhabit Tsai’s films, and his vision of contemporary Taipei, simply do not know how to communicate.
As What Time Is It There? begins, Hsiao Kang (Lee Kang-Sheng) has just lost his father (Miao Tien), and his mother (Lu Yi-Ching) insists on various ceremonies to ensure his return. Mother devotes more attention to the father’s spirit—furnishing him with fresh meals and burning incense on his behalf—than to Kang, who spends his days miserably selling watches on the street. One day, he meets a demanding customer, Shiang-Chyi (Chen Shiang-Chyi), who does not want any of the watches for sale, but instead wants Kang’s own watch, urgently—before she departs for Paris the next day. After a round of refusals and negotiations, Kang consents.
At this point, he develops a new preoccupation: Paris provides an intriguing fantasy escape from his morbid home life. He resets all of his watches to Parisian time and then endeavors to change the times of all the clocks he finds throughout the city. His mother interprets the out-of-sync time on their reset home clock as her deceased husband’s time; she begins preparing meals for midnight, on his schedule, and eliminating all light sources to create a suitably dark environment for his return.
On the other side of the world, Shiang-Chyi finds the same urban isolation as Hsiao Kang, just in another time zone and in another language. She is all-too-visible as an outsider, a lone Asian woman surrounded by crowds of white Europeans. In the Metro, a Chinese man standing on the opposite platform stares at her as if she is an apparition. Unable to speak or read French, she usually communicates in English during the rare instances she has a friendly encounter—as in a delightful scene when she meets Jean-Pierre Leaud (as himself) in a cemetery. (To extend the intertextual joke, Kang purchases and watches a pirate copy of The 400 Blows in order to learn about Paris.) She finally meets a kindly woman from Hong Kong, who is also staying in Paris, indefinitely, as a tourist and forms the only friendship apparent in the film—until it, too, dissolves.
Similar to Tsai’s earlier films, the style is dominated by static, long takes from distant, observational points of view. The characters spend most of their time in confining interiors, moving about in awkward silence and a somnambulistic state of contemplation or depression. Again, he is preoccupied with dysfunction and bodily functions—Kang awakes each night to urinate in any available receptacle, Shiang-Chyi vomits from drinking too many espressos. These moments of ugly physical “reality” seem to be responses to artificial urban life.
What Time also presents what may be Tsai’s most pronounced rendering of the impossibility of sexual intimacy and connection. Sex acts in the film, consummated or not, all fall within the category of the deviant, from public toilet flirtation and masturbation to backseat whoring and homosexual exploration. A three-way, crosscut sequence showing Kang, his mother, and Shiang-Chyi’s various attempts at sexual stimulation, suggests simultaneously their melancholy desperation and erotic smoldering. That none of these three scenes consummate a narrative of love or conclude with tenderness is telling. For Tsai, sex seems no more sensual or personal than any other act in the urban landscape. This sequence stands out not only because it is the most quickly edited montage—in contrast to the film’s nearly exclusive format of long takes—but also because it is the one in which the most happens. The film is quite purposely a bit dull.
Although What Time offers Tsai’s usual style and themes, it has a more colorful, more playful tone than his other films (except for The Hole‘s surreal musical sequences). It’s here that, while the characters’ motivations remain ambiguous or even opaque, What Time Is It There? offers a lingering hopefulness. - Lucas Hilderbrand

It's a bit of a tic among cinephiles to label filmmakers "auteurs of x", where x is whatever theme, mood or sensibility of which said auteur has made a habit. Ming-liang Tsai is a common target. With his spare casts of isolated characters spending so much of their time in the frame alone and longing, is he "the auteur of urban alienation"? Is he "the auteur of the moment", focusing with the utmost patience and stillness on the subtlest human actions? Is he more of an auteur of base bodily functions, throwing around scenes of masturbation, urination and awkward sex with grimy abandon? This no doubt conjures a bizarre mental image in the mind of the reader without experience of Tsai's films, but do rest assured that they're not quite that weird. Puzzlement, however, is far from an unheard-of a reaction. 2001's What Time is it There? appears to have provoked the same questions as its predecessors — "Why are the characters doing that?", "Why do things look that way?", "What's going on?" — but it does so with expertise honed over nearly a decade of cinematic experience. It's the pinnacle of a loose quadrilogy, also comprising 1992's Rebels of a Neon God, 1994's Vive l'Amour, 1997's The River and 1998's The Hole, wherein Tsai employs a stable core of actors, places them in many of the same Taipei locations and expresses their attempts, usually ill-faited, at connection. At the heart of the movies is Kang-sheng Lee, a nonprofessional actor Tsai happened upon while casting his first feature. Never has the director's enthusiasm for mixing the trained and the untrained been more profitable than when Lee's self-styled mannerisms and methods of reaction interact with his castmates'. "In his own world" would be a tired description; "on his own plane of existence" is more apt. Words fail to describe exactly what's different about his acting style — perhaps it's more of a "being style" — but it becomes immediately clear after viewing any of his scenes why Tsai would want to repeatedly cast the fellow in such central roles. He's got something, and that something definitely didn't come from a workshop. Here, Lee takes his recurrent Tsai character name, Hsiao-kang. Whether he's the same Hsiao-kang that appears in The River, The Hole and Vive l'Amour remains a matter of open debate, though his father is played by the usual fellow as well. Not for long, though; just a few shots in, Dad's already dead and cremated, his ashes gripped by Hsiao-kang, who urges his father's spirit to keep on flying alongside his car as it passes through a tunnel. Wearing the deceased man's watch, Hsiao-kang resumes his daily existence supported by timepieces sold out of a suitcase on a skybridge. He manages to close a sale with Shiang-chyi, a student on her way to Paris, but does so only reluctantly; it's his father's watch she wants, capable as it is of displaying two times at once. One for Taiwan, she figures, one for France. The consequences of these events so matter-of-factly related by Tsai go on to richly complicate matters. Fixated on the idea that her husband's spirit could return home at any moment, Hsiao-kang's mom desperately pursues every fleeting impulse telling her what the ghost might find comfortable. (Father is afraid of the light, she explains to her son, taping over the windows.) Though slightly dubious about these endless measures taken to accommodate the supernatural, Hsiao-kang is also nevertheless wary of disturbing his father, whose spirit he believes occupies the bathroom. This sets the stage for the intersection of several Tsai conventions: the eerie isolation of Hsiao-kang in his room as rain beats on the roof above); the unguarded, truthful moment of his blowing into a nearby plastic bag to inspect it for leaks; the bodily function of urination, into the bag, so as to avoid violating the ghost's nest. Hsiao-kang finds his mind returning to Shiang-chyi, or at least to her present location. He searches the local bootleg video market for a copy of The 400 Blows. He resets all the clocks he finds to Paris time. (This only feeds Mom's growing preoccupation: insisting that her husband's spirit reset the kitchen clock, she rearranges her day around it, serving dinner at midnight so as, according to her explanation to Hsiao-kang, to "live by your father's time.") Both Hsiao-kang and his mother grasp at straws, executing any strategy, no matter how oblique, to make some kind of contact with the distant objects of their desire. Half a world away, Shiang-chyi endures a similar struggle, trying and failing to find a gateway into the strange Gallic land that surrounds her. As Hsiao-kang's mother is to Hsiao-kang's father, Hsiao-kang is to Shiang-chyi; as Hsiao-kang is to Shiang-chyi, Shiang-chyi is to France. It's a veritable "missed connections" page, this movie. But then, missed connections have long sat solidly inside Tsai's thematic wheelhouse. Sometimes they're not even missed; they're simply forbidden. And, worst of all, when they're not missed, they have a tendency to turn out to be forbidden anyway. (Who could forget the fateful unintended meeting of Hsiao-kang and his father in one of The River's cruising saunas?) The characters populating What Time is it There? try hard to connect, but their efforts, from the comissioning of elaborate religious rituals to the attempted absorption of café culture by osmosis, are just misconceived enough not to benefit from force of application. Like Hsiao-kang's father in his attenuated appearance, when the camera captures these people, it usually captures them all by their lonesome. Fortunately for us, this is an ideal match between a film's substance and a filmmaker's formal skill. Without daring to apply the "auteur of alienation" label myself, I've seen no director working today better equipped to handle actors by themselves than Tsai. He knows how to depict the human alone, which is a task most other filmmakers seem either ill-equipped to meet or totally uninterested in even attempting; surprising, considering how much time filmgoers probably spend alone themselves. One character in Tsai's hands is as engaging as a roomful in another's. The contemplative Shen-chyi set against the noise of Paris; Hsiao-kang staring at the scene in The 400 Blows where Antoine rides the centrifuge; Hsiao-kang's mom making imaginary love to the ghost who's arrival she's been so busily anticipating; the surprise appearance of the least-expected character right at the end, just as nobody's around to see; far from cinematic insufficiency, observing these characters on their own is actually more than enough to handle. Tsai's steady focus on the individual establishes a contrast that makes interactions between characters, on the rare occasions they happen, loom with significance. As a result, the brief encounter between Shang-chyi and Hsiao-kang takes on almost as much significance for us as it does for him. When Shang-chyi finally does have a couple exchanges of (relative) substance in her travels, it's as impressive that she has them at all as it is that one of them is with the now-middle-aged Jean-Pierre Léaud, star of Hsiao-kang's Truffaut of choice. (Whether Léaud the actor portrays himself or a character conveniently named "Jean-Pierre" is another matter of open debate.) Whether filming one, two or many more characters, Tsai's eye for the details best conveyed on the small scale and across a length of time never falters. Putting aside the "auteur of the moment" business for, well, a moment, he's more than proven his possession of that rarest of all directorial abilities: to deliver scenes to be experienced by the audience, rather than to serve as wrapping to be removed from the plot point and discarded; to make things happen onscreen, rather than be summarized. His work steers well clear of the deadening "this happened, then this happened because of that, then this happened because of that" storytelling mode of lesser films. Unafraid to use sequences of the length, pacing and control necessary to bring the viewer in on the action, Tsai indeed crafts real moments when others' pictures are content to be their own Cliff's Notes. What this entire discussion of Tsai's considerable cinematic merits neglects is, as any fan knows, how funny he is. This isn't to do with his affinity for bodily functions, either, or at least not primarily; his work captures human awkwardness so well and so distinctively that it would take an insensate audience indeed not to at least chuckle in recognition. (Other chuckles arise from sheer absurdity, as in an anonymous gay overture that makes hilarious use of Hsiao-kang's clock fixation.) Other critics have tried to set into words Tsai's peculiar genre of humor: Elvis Mitchell calls it "absurdist melodrama", J. Hoberman calls it "existential slapstick" and Roger Ebert makes much of its indivisible unification of sadness and levity, none without cause. But like the other major facets of his work, Tsai's comedy resists summary: it must either be experienced directly or ignored entirely. - Colin Marshall  www.3quarksdaily.com/


Hei yan quan (I Don't Want to Sleep Alone)


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