Blog Archives

Blue Gate Crossing (2003)

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I’m now forced to take back every rash generalisation I’ve ever made about Taiwanese films. This one is brilliant, and I couldn’t help but love it.

Blue Gate Crossing has the same slow pace, and is imbued with the same minimalist realism, as every other Taiwanese film I’ve seen. But where other Taiwanese films either bore me senseless or force me to leave the cinema in high dudgeon, this one had me enthralled. I’d have watched the whole thing again … (read more)

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Yi Yi (2000)

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There is a disarming honesty to the way writer/director Edward Yang speaks of Yi Yi — A One and A Two, an honesty which is rarely — if ever — to be found in critical writing, so his words perhaps better suited than any (especially mine) to introduce you to his creation.

“The film is simply about life, played across a spectrum of its span. In my view as the writer, simplicity is what’s at the bottom of the … (read more)

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Moon Child (2003)

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This one is for the girls. Now, if while reading this you find that you’re not a girl, you can take my word for it or you can go ahead and watch it, but you’d better not say I didn’t warn you. I don’t want this to be the case of course, not because I’m personally not a girl (because I am) but because I suspect that if I could call this film something else, this review would be a … (read more)

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The Missing (2004)

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Lee Kang-sheng’s The Missing is a sad and haunting film which builds very slowly to an obscure symbolic ending, making you want to watch it again right away in order to view it in a different light. While not quite living up to the standard of the best work of Lee’s esteemed mentor Tsai Ming-liang, The Missing is an admirable debut.

In 2003, Tsai and his lead actor and on-screen alter-ego Lee set out to make two companion-piece short films, … (read more)

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Café Lumiere (2003)

Hou Hsaio-hsien’s Café Lumiere, his plaintive tribute to the incomparable Yasujiro Ozu, is certainly sure to piss off large sections of its audience. I had the curious experience of seeing it with quite a big audience at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and much of this crowd was comprised of people who were only there to ensure themselves good seats for the next session in that cinema: Kung Fu Hustle, introduced live by Stephen Chow himself. Needless to … (read more)

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Wayward Cloud (2005)

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Ah, Tsai! You wonderfully sick individual. Tsai Ming-liang’s latest offering is an occasionally hilarious, frustrating, uncomfortable (in the good way and the bad way) and just slightly disappointing romantic freakshow. With musical numbers!

Starring the utterly fearless Lee Kang-sheng as a “star” of semi-professional porn, The Wayward Cloud tells one of those stories about two all-but-mute loners (Lee and Chen Shiang-chyi) with an obvious mutual attraction who slowly and uncertainly find their way together. These sorts of stories tend to … (read more)

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About Love (2005)

There is always a sense of fondness when looking at the short film. Part of that has to do with being exposed too often to ideas and stories forcibly drawn out to meet certain time expectations, so that when one comes across a short film that gets to its point and does it well, it’s always refreshing. Besides which, that sense of a bite of culture without the commitment of a full feature appeals to my capricious, contrary nature.

This … (read more)

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Goodbye Dragon Inn (2003)

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If you like Taiwanese drama, then read no further, because you’re likely to be annoyed. For the rest of you, here’s my unvarnished opinion of Goodbye, Dragon Inn.

Interminable. Almost unwatchable. Aside from no more than 2 slightly amusing moments, the film had nothing I wanted to see. And they may have been slightly amusing only in contrast to the absolute tedium of the rest of the film: a desperate attempt by one’s forebrain to extract something, anything, out … (read more)

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