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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:33 pm 
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Found a review of this film linked from GreenCine Daily (great news source)... sounds amazing. Ming liang is certainly one of my favorite directors, and The Hole is usually one of the first foreign films I offer to let people borrow that are interested in seeing something "different". This sounds like a companion piece to that film (that sounds very simple... it's probably just as much a companion piece to every other Tsai film as well). Filmbrain calls this "challenging" and mentions nervous laughter towards the end, but I'm just as excited over the prospect of the film being a massive watermelon fetish piece (smirk).

I've been hoping to see more established filmmakers push the boundaries of sex and film. It seems a natural progression, but I wonder what kind of effect it will have on the actor/director relationship. Sex (penetration, the leaking of bodily fluids, real time actual sex) as an acting tool can expand the level of commitment, and range of action, an actor can give to a project (how much more private and "in character" can you get, physically?), but it can also be used by a director to exploit an actor (for LCD or artistic reasons). I'm curious to see Nine Songs and more of the french sex wave (Breillat, Noe, Dumont, etc)... any other suggestions? (I still haven't picked up I am Curious Yellow and Blue yet... I forget to buy it when I have the cash)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:12 pm 

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grimmfarrow wrote:
More on THE WAYWARD CLOUD

News Story

Taiwanese porn musical vies for gold at Berlin film festival

Wed Feb 16,12:25 PM ET Entertainment - AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Taiwan pitched a bizarre porn spectacular into the competition of the Berlin film festival Wednesday in one of the most explicit and challenging contenders for the coveted Golden Bear in recent memory.

"The Wayward Cloud" by Tsai Ming-Liang tells the story of a budding pornography star who reconnects with an old love, Shiang-Chyi, whom he knew from his days as a watch salesman at a Taipei railway station.

The action is set in an urban apartment house in the midst of a summertime drought.

While the young woman makes sparing use of stolen bottled water in her stifling flat, the ambitious Hsiao-Kang secretly plies his new trade in the same apartment building with a dehydrated Japanese actress and a non-plussed camera crew.

With thirst as the operative metaphor for desire, the frequent couplings are set in showers and bathtubs and even involve the creative use of a ripe watermelon.

Tsai, who had a strong showing at the 1997 Berlin festival with "The River", his reverie on alienation in urban Asia, interweaves kitchy musical scenes that cut a strange contrast to the graphic sex on display.

At a small press preivew overnight, reaction ranged from demonstrative walkouts to raucous laughter at some of the more acrobatic sex scenes and musical numbers.

These include torch songs and romantic ballads with elaborate costumes and even a catchy dancing penis number.

Not since French director Patrice Chereau's drama "Intimacy," which went on to win the Golden Bear in 2001, has a competition film dared to show so much skin and up-close sex, blurring the line between art and pornography.

But while "Intimacy" succeeded in saying something about the isolation of European urbanites in its story of two people who meet for nearly anonymous sex, "The Wayward Cloud" and its horrifying final scene met largely with shock and bewilderment in Berlin.

"The Wayward Cloud" (Tian bian yi duo yun), which also had Chinese and French financing, is one of 22 films vying for the Golden Bear.

Also screening in the competition Wednesday are the all-star waterborne comedy "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" by Hollywood cult director Wes Anderson and French production "Words in Blue" (Les mots bleus) about a six-year-old who refuses to speak.

The 55th annual Berlinale, running through Sunday, ranks alongside Venice and just below Cannes among the Europe's top film festivals. The awards will be presented Saturday evening at a gala ceremony on the city's Potsdamer Platz.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 1:42 pm 
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tsai wrote:
"The main point of my cinema is to pursue the truth, and there is nothing more truthful than when a person is being alone. When a person is alone, he doesn't need to perform for anyone anymore. He simply does what he wants and be his real self," Tsai explains. "I, for example, enjoy myself the best when I am peeing. That's the moment when I am totally alone and do not need to pretend anything for anyone."


from an interview here


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 2:55 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:35 am
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Just saw it.

What do I think? It certainly is a grand depature for Tsai, and much of the film is bizarre, funny, and wholly pornographic (though hardly extreme). However, it seems to be the least plotted of his films so far, seemingly made up of overly random characters who don't "gel" the way they do in his other films. As such, it seems like a bunch of episodes than a collective whole. The "shocking"finale is HARDLY shocking - no idea what Derek Elley was talking there. It's hardly on the level of IRREVERSIBLE.

The best AND worst parts were the musical scenes. The whole flower/Chiang Kai Shek thing was brilliant, but the whole episode with Lee Kang-sheng in drag just flopped. In fact, Lee makes a wholly unconvincing musical/comedic actor. He should have let the ladies handle them.

I talked to David Bordwell for a while after the screening - he seemed to enjoy it, though I neglected to probe further of what he thought.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:15 pm 

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fyi. Taiwan's Deltamac's 2-disc edition of Wayward Cloud is now available. English subs on the movie; Chinese subs only on the extras disc.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:02 am 
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(apologies if this has been posted elsewhere but...)

Does anyone happen to know if this will have Engl. subs?:


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:58 am 

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Looks like it's French subs only.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:30 pm 
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Well, if you understand Mandarin, then the Taiwanese version is the one to own with Ming Liang's very thorough explanation on his style and metaphors. The ending really makes A LOT more sense after hearing him talk.

I wonder if the French version contains the same Q&A sessions, though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:45 am 
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This is being released in the UK along with the great I Don't Want to Sleep Alone by Axiom Films in early February...

Extras include an interview with the director (which I think I remember Tony Rayns saying at the NFT retrospective was conducted by him).


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:36 am 
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I saw this at the recent TML retrospective at BFI Southbank.

I certainly see it as a semi-reprise of The Hole, though obviously more sexually explicit and with more of a musical dimension perhaps. Both films feature a Taipei undergoing a weather phenomenon, though I never once think TML is repeating himself even though thematically both (and many) films are similar.

Rouge has an excellent essay on the final scene of the film, which is pretty hard to watch, and leaves a bad taste in the mouth (sorry). Few directors manage to balance humour, sex and emotions as well as TML.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:03 am 
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franco wrote:
Well, if you understand Mandarin, then the Taiwanese version is the one to own with Ming Liang's very thorough explanation on his style and metaphors. The ending really makes A LOT more sense after hearing him talk.


Just saw this for the first time. I have my own reading of the ending, but am curious about what Tsai says in this interviews that illuminates the ending. Can you relay it here?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:34 pm 
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The Rogue article basically says the same thing in the last paragraph, although I am not sure why the essay needs a shot-by-shot analysis to reach the conclusion. Nevertheless, the "two worlds" it mentions could be both pretty real in Tsai Ming Liang's thoughts (roughly summarized):
[Reveal] Spoiler:
It almost seems that Shiang-chyi is channeling her mind through the body of the AV actress, because the relationship with Hsiao-Kang has up till then quite unfulfilling in the physical department. The final fusion between Shiang-chyi and Hsiao-Kang is simple act of salvation, penetrating the wall between two very different worlds and reminding both people that love can still exist.

Come to think of it nowadays, the ending seems pretty obvious in its metaphor. Not sure what I was so excited about 3 years ago.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:16 am 
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Finally got to seeing this. Had a good laugh before putting the disc in because of the hyperbolic pull quote thanks to The Guardian. The movie itself is a blast and half. Maybe the best I've seen from him. It has his typical sense of humour expanded in the most bizarre way. Buster Keaton has always been the influence on these films, but the ability to turn a surreal visual pun into the funniest thing on earth has never been as well utilized as in here.

It's really fascinating to see where Hsiao-Kang has gone since the first movie in the series. I think a lot of the fun in these films is a bit like the fun in watching teevee. Seeing these characters grow and evolve is easily the greatest accomplishment in movies ever.

The music is amazing by the way. When was the last time a musical was this great at being a musical? I love how he sort of just doesn't give a damn and allows it to break it's own reality. The music is, as is important in a musical, simply as catchy as humanly possible. I don't think I'll get the love flower song out of my head all weekend long and I don't even understand the words. All of the songs are gorgeously choreographed, but as is so typical of Tsai that's true of the film on the whole yet it all feels so sloppy that the reality of the weirdness only pleasantly hits you after ward. I really have to see The Hole after this.
By the way is the love interest the same woman as from What Time is it There?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:42 am 
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knives wrote:
By the way is the love interest the same woman as from What Time is it There?

Presumably. At one point she asks Hsiao-Kang, "Are you still selling watches?" Also, they were both in the short The Skywalk Is Gone which seems to take place between the two features.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:11 am 
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It's the same woman, the character's name is Shiang-chyi in both films. However, it's worth noting that the actor's name is Chen Shiang-chyi - at this point Chen is almost as much a Tsai Ming-Liang regular as Lee Kang-sheng, having appeared in every Tsai film since The River.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:26 am 
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Tsai does mention that in the (great) interview on the disc that I watched after posting. Like I said before it's really amazing to see how these characters change so her being a steady makes it even better. with each new film I see of his the quality of the earlier films seem to rise. Even the slightly uncharacteristic Rebels was amazing in part because of the hindsight I already had when watching it. I do wish Visage would get a release in any english speaking country soon.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:45 am 
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That's nice to hear. I mentioned it because I've been a little bit irritated with critical focus on Lee as Tsai's alter-ego (understandable though it may be) to the neglect of Chen. As you say part of the pleasure of Tsai's work is watching the characters change, and nowadays Chen is almost as important to that as Lee.


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