Xiao Hai
1991 / 50m - Taiwan
Boys poster


February 19, 2022


Tsai's final TV film, before he would start his cinematic run (and his rise to arthouse stardom). It's also the first film that would kick off his lifelong collaboration with Kang-sheng Lee. A landmark in other words, but only if you care about Tsai's career, as the film itself is pretty bland.

Boys forms a nice stepping stone to Rebels of the Neon God, following some young, blossoming rascals who roam around the city and prey on younger school kids. Lee plays one of the rascals, but even though his crimes are petty, and the kids look like easy victims, his fate takes a turn for the worst.

If you like to plot the journey of a director then Boys is an essential piece in Tsai's oeuvre. At the same time, it's a very cheap TV film with mediocre acting, poor execution and subpar styling. I didn't get a lot out of it to be honest, then again it wasn't until Tsai hit the early 00s that I started liking his films.