The River


  • Hai Leong Toh



HE LIU (The River 1997). Tsai Ming-liang. Cast: Lee Kang-sheng, Lu Hsiao-ling, Miao Tien, Yang Kuei-mei, Ann Hui. Loosely strung together as the last part of a trilogy (the first two being Rebels of the Neon God and Vive l'amour) about dysfunctional families, urban anomie and loveless sex, The River by Malaysian-born, Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang is about three protagonists or rather antagonists who do not really relate to one another. All three starred his favourite muse -- Lee Kang-sheng Xiao Kang (played by Lee Kang-sheng who also starred in the first two features) is a young man who, while wandering aimlessly in central Taipei, gets tricked by into appearing as a corpse in a movie floating in the highly polluted Tansui river. Xiao Kang's father (Miao Tien) is a morose-looking retiree who frequents the city's gay saunas. In one of the film's ironies, he accidentally picks up his own...






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