Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vive L'Amour

For that handful of fortunate viewers who caught Tsai Ming-Liang's Vive L'Amour back in 1994, it must have seemed rather extraordinary; certainly not without precedent, but decidedly singular in its conception of alienation as chiefly an aesthetic problem. True, Tsai's debut feature, 1992's Rebels of the Neon God had introduced much of the filmmaker's cinematic template - his static, long takes, his youth-centric Taipei milieu, the wordless interactions of his characters - but the earlier film was still reliant on a musical score - a robotic, bass-heavy throb repeated ad nauseum - and Tsai was still willing to treat young adulthood as a not entirely anti-social state-of-being. Hence that film's settings take in the familiar congregating centers of youth culture - the video arcade, the skating rink, the café - while the musical interjections neatly fill in the work's "dead spaces," absolving the viewer of the need to experience the full weight of empty duration.

To read the rest of the article, please continue to Not Coming to a Theater Near You.

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