Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Hole

Next up, The Hole from 1998. This movie was a part of the series from France that had various filmmakers doing stories on what year 2000 might be like. Tsai's 21st century Taipei has a monsoon of a rainstorm (he has a thing about severe rain and water in apartments as leaks are a common theme).

The rain is so relentless most of the city has been evacuated except for a man (the ever present Tsai regular Lee Kang-Sheng) who lives above a woman (Yang Kuei-Mei) in a dingy, faceless, leaking apartment building. Due to the incessant rainstorm leaks create a hole in the middle of their floor/ceiling and the pair become acquainted whether they wanted to or not because of the hole.

This is a strange and interesting little film that mostly takes place without dialogue and in these two crappy apartments. Most surprisingly, and kind of bizarrely, the woman breaks into these musical song and dance numbers all over the apartment building! She sings and dances in the elevator, the halls, stairwells and all in colorful dresses to the music of Grace Chang from the '50s.

These fantasy musical numbers have color that is bright and eye catching when the rest of the film is shot kind of drab and grey. Toss in the epidemic of "Taipei Fever", an illness that makes people think they are cockroaches and causes them burrow into closets or other lightless areas and you see what I mean when I say there are some interesting story elements in The Hole.

The Hole is all at once an odd, end of the world drama, a romance, a musical that equates to another wonderful movie from one of the world’s most unique cinematic voices—Tsai Ming-Liang.

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