Saturday, July 5, 2008

Something that caught me eye

There is an excellent review by Yvette Biro on Tsai Ming-liang and Jia Zhang-Ke's films in the Summer 2008 issue of Film Quarterly. What really impressed me in Biro's Tender is the Regard: I Don't Want to Sleep Alone and Still Life is the following:

'Tsai rightly states that he is not simply an observer. He touches the depth of sensation, fleeting desires, and instincts but he never does so from a position that is too close to his subjects. Instead he stands back in order, with his exquisite precision, to pay attention to specific details. The lightless, sombre images are nevertheless rich, saturated, despite their repetitive, minimalist components. Although the camera always remain distant, it is clear that man adn environment are indivisible, identical living vegetation. We have time not only to see, but also to live through the micro-life revealed thanks to the patience of the penetrating, immobile camera composition. The bleak, dreary, and narrow walls, the miserably small windows, or the blatantly barren concrete jungle of the city are the unhomely home of people, where human action is restricted to the most trivial, physical activity.

Tsai understands the language of the body, the naked mother tongue of daily existence best. The normal, simple life functions of our being, the everyday rituals: eating and urinating and washing, teeth-brushing and masturbating - devouring and relieving oneself, the "cries and whispers" of hurried sexual intercourse. This is the common, natural timetable of daily life: waiting silently, then feeding, "downloading" . . . and starting again; doing what has to be done, whatever the body requires, for as long as it is possible, before it is necessary to move again. The solitude of heavy dreams cannot be soothed even with a pillow . . . '

Folks, this is sheer poetry! We must salute such sensitive readings of pieces of art.

No comments: