Exquisite Tedium

It's a good thing that most of the characters in Tsai Ming-liang's films seem to be compulsive smokers. The acclaimed Taiwan-based director is the master of the long, slow reveal that keeps camera movement to an absolute minimum. Just as frozen are his actors, who sit or stand or lie with that familiar art-house look of longing in their eyes, which often resembles nothing so much as a slight case of constipation. Were it not for the constant lighting of cigarettes and the smoke wreaths wafting through the frame, Tsai's scenes would be hard to distinguish from...

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