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Tsai Ming - Liang
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Rebels of the Neon God
Qing shao nian nuo zha
dir. Tsai Ming-Liang / Tajwan 1992 / 127’
subtitles: Polish and English
retrospective: Tsai Ming-Liang

Cast

Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Chao-jung, Jen Chang-bin, Lu Yi-ching, Miao Tien

Film description

The title rebel, Ah-tze is a petty thief who wanders the streets and malls in Taipei. Hsiao-kang is fascinated with him, he becomes Ah-tze's shadow, following his roaming and his affair with Ah-bing. He is rebellious too, but the rebellion is suppressed by a helplessness Hsiao-kang can't overcome.

Tsai's feature debut is a foundation film, foreshadowing the director's next projects, as if from this moment Tsai would continue to make a single work, to explore a single subject, to show the same world and the same character (portrayed always by Lee Kang-sheng). Rebels... show the motifs that would recur in Tsai's later works: nuclear family, impersonal space of a commercialised city, water literally flooding the characters' lives, but symbolically as well. In Tsai's subsequent works, the same themes and obsessions will return: longitude, decay of interpersonal relations, suppressed sexuality, longing for someone else's life, for another man. The plot of the Rebels... is shown in a classical way and the film is recognised as the most accessible work by Tsai, but even here you can find a crystallised narrative and style of imagery. Long shots, focus on the ordinary and unimpressive, observation allowing to touch on the deepest emotions of the characters.

Karolina Kosińska

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