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I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

Posted by martinteller on November 10, 2007

All the familiar Ming-Liang Tsai tics are here: the unmoving camera, long takes, minimal dialogue, decrepit urban environments, themes of isolation, ubiquitous water, uncomfortable sexual situations, ultra-dry humor, and of course, Kang-sheng Lee, in a double role no less (has there ever been a more steadfast actor/director relationship?  8 feature films and all starring Lee).  Also back is frequent Tsai actress Shiang-chyi Chen.  And the mysterious haze at the end of the film recalls similar crises in The Hole and The Wayward Cloud.  

So if I criticize Wes Anderson for treading over the same old ground, then why am I so readily accepting of Tsai’s usual bag of tricks?  I don’t know.  I tried to articulate it, but what I wrote sounded like I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.  All I know is I always get so much out of Tsai’s films, and despite their similarities, they all seem entirely separate to me.  I find his world an utterly fascinating place to be.  I actually thought beforehand that this might be the movie that would make me start to lose interest, because it had a rather lukewarm reception.  But I loved it.  Again, he’s exploring clumsy attempts at attaining intimacy, but somehow it seems fresh every time.  He always makes this act of reaching out to someone both heartbreaking and heartwarming.  It’s one of his more straightforward works, without the gimmickiness of Wayward Cloud or the impenetrability of Goodbye Dragon Inn.  There are some haunting images, most notably in the flooded construction site (an incredible location), and there’s some wonderful use of music.

As always, Tsai is most definitely an acquired taste, but if you’re already a fan, this one is quite rewarding and hypnotic.  I look forward to revisiting it.  Rating: 9


One Response to “I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone”

  1. […] 96. I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006, Ming-liang Tsai) […]

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