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Tsai Ming-liang, the rebel of long time

Tsai Ming-liang loves cinema too much to limit it to what is expected of him in the industry: a script, actors, shooting and always money. Over the past ten years, the most sensory director of the Taiwanese new wave, born in 1957 and originally from Malaysia, has reinvented himself. He made a series of films with a hypnotic device, brought together in the same series, Walker, nine short and feature films, shot according to invitations to festivals and art centres.

The favorite actor whom Tsai Ming-liang has been filming for thirty years, Lee Kang-sheng, wanders there like a Buddhist monk, draped in red and shaved head, performing an extremely slow walk in the city (Hong Kong, Tokyo, Venice, Paris, etc.). You never know what the appearance of this superhero of the slow in the middle of the crowd, and the filmmaker – a practicing Buddhist – creates the suspense of slowness.

Series Walker is broadcast on a loop at the Center Pompidou, in Paris, where a retrospective of the work of the Taiwanese is taking place: spectators will be able to (re)discover his films made for television, from the end of the 1980s, his feature films steeped in real life of Taipei (the flashy shopping malls, the dry climate, the lonely souls in search of love and their sexuality), where the filmmaker revealed his art of ecstatic burlesque, with his hero in the grip of a stiff neck, Lee Kang-sheng . quote Rebels of the Neon God (1992), Long Live Love (1994), Golden Lion in Venice, River (1997), And over there, what time is it? (2001), The flavor of watermelon (2005), stray dogs (2014)…

Buddhist sutras

On Wednesday, November 30, his new feature film, Days, a pure visual marvel without dialogue, where two actors, captured in their daily lives, end up in the ecstasy of a hotel room – one of the strongest films of the Berlinale in 2020. Besides Lee Kang-sheng, the filmmaker films a new actor, Laotian Anong Houngheuangsy, whom he met in Bangkok, Thailand, where he lived odd jobs. From now on, the young man works alongside Tsai Ming-liang for his museum creations. Everyone calls her Anong.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers With “Days”, Tsai Ming-liang films the silence of contemporary alienation

Here he is precisely at level − 1 of “Beaubourg”, Monday, November 21, slender silhouette in black jeans, squatting in front of a huge white sheet. Anong applies himself to copying lines of Buddhist sutras (rule in the form of an aphorism) in Laotian characters, all in roundness, which echo the sutras written alongside, in Chinese, by Tsai Ming-liang. Everything is done in an indelible coal mine, leaving no room for error.The Heart Sutra and The Diamond Sutra are the two Buddhist texts that I like the most and that I recite to myself a little daily. It gives me a quiet strength and allows me to move forward »explains the filmmaker, a few steps from the installation. “These texts are also a kind of prayer, in view of the threats against peace and democracyhe said. As for the tensions between Taiwan and China, they tell of a global problem, between people who love freedom and those who advocate authoritarian rule. »

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