Archive for January 1st, 2007

Xiao-Kang has a sore neck.

He accidentally gives his dad a hand-job.

The end.

I have seen some wonderful films from Tsai Ming-Liang in my day.  This is not one of them.  A film designed, apparently, for the sole purpose of being uncomfortable.  It is plotless, dreary, disquieting, and awful.  It could’ve been something; the thing at the beginning with Xiao-Kang standing in for a mannequin as a filmmaker shoots a scene of a body floating down the river, the constant threat of incest and disturbed sexuality, the rain in the father’s bedroom, and the nice neck-pain acting by the lead were all promising.  Had it felt like it actually had any point whatsoever, the film might’ve been excellent.

As it is, it just leaves one feeling violated.  That was probably the point, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let the film off the hook.  It is the filmic equivalent of being raped.

If you’d just like to see good filmmaking by Tsai Ming-Liang, try “The Hole.”  In the absence of that one, try “What Time is It There?”

Leave “The River” on the shelf at all costs.


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