1998. Taiwan/France. Tsai Ming-liang. 95 min.
Sunday, February 3, 2008, 4:00 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
1998. Taiwan/France. Written and directed by Tsai Ming-liang. With Yang Kuei-Mei, Lee Kang-Sheng. A leading light of contemporary cinema, Tsai (What Time Is It There?; Goodbye, Dragon Inn) is known for his languorously long takes from fixed camera positions, ambient soundtracks, and taciturn characters who express themselves through wordless sex. His contribution to ARTE's 2000 Seen By... series, winner of the Fipresci jury prize at Cannes, is a wonderfully offbeat cross between Franz Kafka, Jacques Demy, and Jacques Tati—imagine that!—set on the eve of the millennium in waterlogged, plague-ridden Taipei, where infected humans daydream Technicolor musical fantasies or behave like scuttling cockroaches. Two such "victims"—a young man and the woman who lives below him in a rotting apartment building—are stripped of their privacy, and their clothes, when a flood opens a hole (literal, allegorical, and erotic) in their floor/ceiling. In Mandarin; English subtitles. 95 min.