PRINT May 2007


Tsai Ming-liang

TSAI MING-LIANG’S previous film, The Wayward Cloud, was almost universally hated; at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival screening there were even walkouts in protest by those who found the work pornographic. It is to be hoped that the hostility and disgust it aroused (which I understand but don’t share) will not deter Tsai’s admirers from seeing I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, arguably the director’s finest achievement to date—and perhaps his most intensely personal as well.

Tsai has from the start of his career shown a predilection for long takes—from afar, with minimal, diegetic sound only—preserving the realities of time and space, rejecting the shopworn Hollywood practice of cutting to close-up for emphasis or for ease of reading facial expressions; of using background music to tell us what we should be feeling; and of using editing to truncate time and space. But rarely before

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