Join author and cultural commentator Linda Jaivin in conversation with the director, Tsai Ming-Liang.
Wednesday 7 January 2015, 6-9pm Stray Dogs 郊遊 (2013, 138 mins)
A family seeks out a living on the fringes of bustling Taipei, moving between the wooded limits of the city proper, to the many nooks and cracks in that offer shelter in the urban fabric.
The father works as a human billboard, holding an advertising sign under a highway overpass most days, but spends much of the little he earns on alcohol and cigarettes.His two children, no longer at school, miss their mother and are used to foraging in department store food courts, and other urban pastures. Each night, they shelter in an abandoned building, while the rain often falls relentlessly.
On the father’s birthday, the family is joined by a surprise guest, a woman, who might hold the key to something lost. Rejecting most of what characterises conventional cinema today, Tsai’s Stray Dogs is a patient meditation, moving deftly beyond narrative to art.
Thursday 8 January 2015 6-7:30pm No Form 無色 (2012, 20 mins)
No Form is the first in a series of pensive shorts featuring the director’s long-term collaborator, actor Lee Kang-sheng.
Tsai originally planned to make a feature film based on the 6th-century travels of the monk Xuan Zang, famously fictionalised as Journey to the West. In No Form, Lee is an unnamed figure shown walking slowly and deliberately through a crowd of people and also in a mysteriously white maze-like place.
This intentional pace, which brings the viewer into its thrall, subtly evokes notions of pilgrimage, feintly echoing the project’s origins.
The Skywalk is Gone 天橋不見了 (2002, 25 mins)
Shiang-chyi, recently returned from an overseas trip, goes to find Hsiao-kang, a watch seller who used to work under the pedestrian bridge, only to find he and the bridge are gone.
When Shiang-chyi illegally crosses the road, she is stopped by a policeman, who asks to see her ID card. Hsiao-kang was in a public toilet nearby, and the paid walk passed each other on the stairs of an underpass, but Shiang-chyi doesn’t realise.After making What Time is it There the previous year, Tsai discovered that the pedestrian bridge featured in that movie was removed, and this short film is his poetic response to the such urban change.
All films are in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles.
Born in Malaysia in 1957, Tsai Ming-Liang is one of the most prominent directors of Taiwan’s New Wave cinema, and is internationally recognized for his uniquely pensive, bitter-sweet style. In 1994, his Vive l’ Amour won the Golden Lion award at the 51st Venice International Film Festival, while his most recent feature, Stray Dogs, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, in 2013. In 2009, he completed the first dramatization of the Louvre Museum’s collection, in his work Face, which has become the benchmark for cinematic explorations into the world of art galleries.
Since 2012, he has been working on a long project of filming longtime collaborator, actor Lee Kang-Sheng's slow walk, in a number of different cities. Tsai is also acclaimed for his significant work in theatre and installation art.
Linda Jaivin is the author of seven novels,including The Empress Lover (2014) and A Most Immoral Woman (2009), and several works of non-fiction including Beijng 2014) and The Monkey and the Dragon (2000). Linda is also a literary and film translator who has translated the English subtitles for Chinese films including Farewell my Concubine and The Grandmaster.