Rebels of the Neon God (Tsai Ming-liang, 1993)
Saw this early gem at the Siskel this evening. Blown-out fluorescent Taipei, rainy streets and motorbikes, and that roller rink! Reminded me of Wong Kar Wai’s As Tears Go By but with the long takes and Tsai’s sneaky bits of subtle humor.
The only Tsai Ming-liang film I’d seen prior was 2009’s esoteric Visage, which left me spellbound and speechless. The nouvelle-vague-homage featured direct nods to his early work. Lee Kang-sheng, the student spying on the band of outsiders, appears as the director character in 2009’s film (as well as many other of Tsai’s work). Also the flooding kitchen reoccurs, a device I was delighted to see repeated. I wish they’d put Visage on netflix, but alas…
Rebels reaffirmed my love for Tsai Ming-liang, I definitely need to watch the rest of his films (and finally stop getting him confused with Hou Hsiao-hsien)