films seen
19
average score
2.63*
nationality
Malaysia - 62 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

A pillar of the Taiwanese New Wave. Slow pacing, sly comedy and offbeat musical numbers characterize his most popular films, sadly his later work is bogged down by too much navel-gazing and endless introspection. His core oeuvre is essential though.

Rare treats

The Wayward Cloud

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun
Specifics
Taiwan [2005] - 112m
Genre
Romance, Musical
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
The Wayward Cloud poster

Still, I think this is by far Tsai's best film to date.

The good stuff

I Don't Want To Sleep Alone

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Hei Yan Quan
Specifics
Taiwan [2006] - 115m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
I Don't Want To Sleep Alone poster

In the end I Don't Want To Sleep Alone is another typical Tsai film, with some slight experimentations that are in no way big enough to attract new viewers or to push away existing fans.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Bu San
Specifics
Taiwan [2003] - 82m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Goodbye, Dragon Inn poster

Tsai allows you to slow down along with it, transporting you to a wet and distant place where you can enjoy the final day of a local cinema.

What Time Is It There?

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Ni Na Bian Ji Dian
Specifics
France, Taiwan [2001] - 116m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
What Time Is It There? poster

The Hole

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Dong
Specifics
France, Taiwan [1998] - 95m
Genre
Drama, Fantasy, Musical
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
The Hole poster

Solid pieces

Stray Dogs

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Jiao You
Specifics
France, Taiwan [2013] - 138m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Stray Dogs poster

Face

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Visage
Specifics
The Netherlands, Belgium [2009] - 138m
Genre
Drama, Musical
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Face poster

The inoffensive

Chacun Son Cinéma

by Theodoros Angelopoulos, Olivier Assayas, Bille August, Jane Campion, Youssef Chahine, Kaige Chen, Michael Cimino, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, David Cronenberg, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Manoel de Oliveira, Raymond Depardon, Atom Egoyan, Amos Gitai, Hsiao-hsien Hou, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Aki Kaurismäki, Abbas Kiarostami, Takeshi Kitano, Andrey Konchalovskiy, Claude Lelouch, Ken Loach, David Lynch, Nanni Moretti, Roman Polanski, Raoul Ruiz, Walter Salles, Elia Suleiman, Ming-liang Tsai, Gus Van Sant, Lars von Trier, Wim Wenders, Kar-Wai Wong, Yimou Zhang
Specifics
France [2007] - 100m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Chacun Son Cinéma poster

Worthy but flawed

Afternoon

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Na Ri Xia Wu
Specifics
Taiwan [2015] - 137m
Genre
Documentary
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Afternoon poster

More art project than documentary, even so this conversation between director Ming-liang Tsai and his protégé Kang-sheng Lee wasn't as dull as I had feared. It doesn't feel entirely natural and Tsai is a little too dominant, but it does offer a nice peek into the lives of two famous men who left an incredible mark on Taiwanese cinema. 135 minutes is just too long though.

Letters from the South

by Aditya Assarat, Sun Koh, Chui Mui Tan, Royston Tan, Ming-liang Tsai, Midi Z
Also known as
Nan Fang Lai Xin
Specifics
China, Thailand [2013] - 105m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Letters from the South poster

I'm quite partial to anthology films, as they allow directors to go a little crazy. Because they are comprised of several shorts, these projects allow for a little more risk. One or two failed entries don't necessarily mean a failed film. For the larger part, anthology films deliver, but only when the directors are willing to play.

Letters from the South was a bit disappointing though. For the larger part it's just run-of-the-mill arthouse shorts that don't offer anything unusual or memorable. Aditya Assarat, Sun Koh and Midi Z are interesting names on paper, but their entries felt muddled, unadventurous and a little lazy.

Royston Tan's execution is better, but not up to par with his feature films. Tsai on the other hand delivers the biggest disappointment of the bunch (a prelude to Journey to the West). The only one who rose above the pack here was Chui Mui Tan, delivering a challenging and beautiful little film that stands in shrill contrast with the other entries. I expected more from this film.

The River

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
He Liu
Specifics
Taiwan [1997] - 115m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The River poster

Dubious filler

My Stinking Kid

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Wo de Chou Haizi
Specifics
Taiwan [2004] - 50m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
My Stinking Kid poster

Tsai's TV work is clearly not as great. The story of a kid suffering from a rare disease has potential, but the execution is plain. We see the boy as he struggles through school, while his mom tries to educate the world about the nature of his disease, but apart from some well-scored moments the film lacks impact.

Vive L'Amour

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Ai Qing Wan Sui
Specifics
Taiwan [1994] - 118m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Vive L'Amour poster

Plain forgettable

Journey to the West

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Xi You
Specifics
France, Taiwan [2014] - 56m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Journey to the West poster

Sleeping on Dark Waters

by Ming-liang Tsai
Specifics
Taiwan [2008] - 53m
Genre
Documentary
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Sleeping on Dark Waters poster

A documentary on I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, directed by Tsai himself. It's little more than a simple behind-the-scenes doc though, with Tsai contemplating some shots and explaining his motivations for making the film. While I did like I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone, I think you're better off just watching the film again.

Give Me a Home

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Ge Wo Yi Gejia
Specifics
Taiwan [1991] - 52m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Give Me a Home poster

Another made-for-TV Tsai film. Without Tsai's usual focus on style and minimalism, his films are little more than social criticism. Fine if that's your thing, but this rather bleak and unattractive peak into the lives of poor immigrant construction workers didn't really do it for me. I prefer his more cinematic work.

All the Corners of the World

by Ming-liang Tsai
Specifics
Taiwan [1989] - 74m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
All the Corners of the World poster

The start of Ming-liang Tsai's career. Like his other TV work, there are small glimpses of the style that would bring him international recognition, but they are hidden in very mediocre TV drama. These films are hardly worth the trouble, unless you're a completist like me and you just want to watch all of Tsai's films.

Big nopes

Your Face

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Ni De Lian
Specifics
France, Taiwan [2018] - 76m
Genre
Documentary
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
Your Face poster

I used to like Tsai's films, but ever since he turned his back on feature films his work has gone downhill. I'm not sure what Tsai hoped to discover here, but unless you like regular folk sitting awkwardly in front of a camera, unsure what to do, then there's very little here. Point in case one interviewee who fell asleep.

Rebels of the Neon God

by Ming-liang Tsai
Also known as
Qing Shao Nian Nuo Zha
Specifics
Taiwan [1992] - 106m
Genre
Drama, Crime
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
Rebels of the Neon God poster