PRINT Summer 2001


This May 17, TSAI MING-LIANG's fifth feature film, Et là-bas, quelle heure est-il? (What time is it there?), premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Now, New York audiences will have a chance to assess the Taipei-based filmmaker's startling oeuvre. Howard Hampton sets the stage for the Film Society of Lincoln Center's upcoming retrospective “Urban Ghosts and Legends: The Cinema of Tsai Ming-liang” at the Walter Reade Theater, June 29–July 12.

The numbed-down recurring characters in forty-three-year-old Malaysian-born, Taiwan-based director Tsai Ming-liang's films behave like diseased guppies in an urban fishbowl. Moving through the brackish aquarium that is a dourly semi-modernized Taipei—a rain-drenched, leak-springing, backed-up plumbing perdition where even layers of societal algae and existential murk can never quite efface the city's sterility—they aimlessly swim in

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