- With his patented long takes, sparse dialogue, stationary camera, lack of close-ups, and undoubtedly his own unique rhythm —this is strong auteur cinema. Yet, like many of Ming-liang Tsai’s prior works (this is his eighth feature), there are a few stunning compositions, but also 15-20 minute stretches that simply do not impress
- Opens on a composition of a man resting/sleeping/recovering in a hospital bed, opera is playing, the window open.
- It isn’t just a title- the I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone describes the film—and the hypnotic (trance/dream-like) rhythm and sleepiness have to make cinephiles think of Apichatpong Weerasethakul (or vice-versa). The sort of existential malady (this film is about hurt people recovering and their caregivers) doesn’t hurt that comparison either.
- Most of the dialogue is incidental – or more often from the radio (whether it is talk radio or music the characters are listening to)
- Alleys, stairwells, (41 minutes there is a strong one creating a frame within a frame), water, dilapidated and run-down like the theater and basement in Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Alleys, stairwells, water, dilapidated buildings
- Ming-liang Tsai trades Taipei for his native Malaysia
- Motifs—a foreigner, a comic gag involving a mattress going back and forth, sickness and caregiving—I see a little of The Man Without a Past from Kaurismäki here
- The standing water reflecting frame at the 27 minute mark- very strong—sort of a construction site (could be the same construction site as Ming-liang Tsai’s Rebels of the Neon God or Stray Dogs which comes after this film in 2013)
- At 54 minutes- characters living separately, in isolation one floor above the other. Even when together, these characters in Ming-liang Tsai’s world are siloed.
- The 65 minute mark shot with the door open on the right, the 70 minute long take in the alley
- Fishing in the standing water at 86 minutes—magnificent frame
Fishing in the standing water at 86 minutes—magnificent frame
- Stair maze at 90 minutes- that entire set piece is astounding
Stair maze at 90 minutes- that entire set piece is astounding
- There’s even a sort of Blade Runner 2046-like dustbowl and two characters that have their making out interrupted (somewhat comically) by fits of coughing from the toxins. This like sort of plague fits with the perpetual rain and flooding which pervades Ming-liang Tsai films.
- Starting at 112 minutes—the final shot that runs for four minutes. It is an absolute stunner. Ming-liang Tsai ends his films- Stray Dogs, The River, Goodbye, Dragon Inn, more- almost all with these amazing shots. Here all the motifs collide in what may be his finest shot. The reflection in the water, the mattress floating in, the sleeping of course, the sort of surrealist escapism (with the music dropping in and carrying beyond the black screen). Again it is just frustrating that there are such long stretches without a compelling composition.
Starting at 112 minutes—the final shot that runs for four minutes. It is an absolute stunner. Ming-liang Tsai ends his films- Stray Dogs, The River, Goodbye, Dragon Inn, more- almost all with these amazing shots
- Highly Recommend- top 10 of the year quality film