The Whole aka Dong by Ming-liang Tsai

October 19, 2005 at 7:30 am Leave a comment


The Whole by King-linag Tsai has spurred me onto 2 different reviews so far. The first by e-mail:

Hey,

watching a move called the hole. Taiwanese I think seems a bit to weird for china unless it’s hong Kong. it’s worth seeing so far. it’s about a guy and a girl in an apartment complex. the guy’s ceiling caves in and the girl starts to get annoyed and well it’s kinda a weird metaphor for the simultaneous pleasure ,degregation, and pain of a rather intense crush. there’s also a kinda zombie-virus-sub-plot too and a lot of weird little scenes where the girl acts out her desires through rather innocent and kinda fun 50’s doo-wop sequences. worth a look.

and then I had to get all intellectual about it:

In the middle of The Hole I e-mailed a friend of mine to summarize it. Not sure if the film would break down into a series of submissive gestures, I felt a little un-easy recommending it, but then I saw the ending. It’s perfect. I’ve been living in Korea for 6 months, and this film could just as easily summarize the strange ennui and frustration of any Asian metropolis as it takes on Taiwan here. It uses the myth of Hong Kong musicals the same way Godard or Hartley use Western musicals, but takes it to an extreme, it’s gritty world and occasionally Kafka-esquire logic make it all the better. I really feel like The Hole’s closest comparison is Hal Hartley’s Surviving Desire, but have a kinda bleak edge to what are ultimately hopefully and strangely metaphorical films. Anyway, this is what I wrote to Esther. Hope you like The Hole too.

It turns out The Hole was part of a series parially commissioned by La Sept Arte which included Hartley’s quite awful The Book of Life. Anyway, two reviews is probably enough. If your wondering
the musical tid-bits come from Hong Kong musicals It’s ending is a relief to what is a crush that manages to transcend genders while making two far from perfect characters who’s characters seem to be fleshed out in musical form. What was intended as a response to 2000 ends up a timely meditation on pleasure and the pains that drive it. Sometimes we’re all driven a little bit off the edge of humanity by love sickness. Ming_ling Tsai’s got a new one out too called The Wayward Cloud

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