Tsai Ming-liang's film: What Time Is It There?

I just can’t find a more appropriate place to start a discussion on TSAI Ming-liang’s new film “What Time Is It There?”

First, why don’t we start a forum on reviews of movies and other art performances?

If you have seen the referred movie, I believe that many of you would agree with me that it is a total flop – perhaps one of the worst ones that I have seen in my life time.

The story, the scenes, the dialects are all extremely boring. I almost had to walk out before the end.

This happens a lot with Taiwanese films. They tend to win awards abroad despite the fact that they are not very entertaining. My theory is that the Taiwanese movie industry seems polarized into two camps: You’ve got the one side that is completely focused on the quick buck, which churns out those stupid movies with that fat bald kid and lots of slapstick humor, and then you’ve got the “artists” who don’t see the value of their abstract work being at all understood by the unwashed masses. Neither side respects the audience, which I think is the main problem.

I watched What Time Is It There? [Nǐ nèibiān jǐ diǎn?《你那邊幾點?》] earlier today and came away with a completely different impression than the first poster. Some people associated with the film asked us to write down our reaction after the show. I wrote, “This is the funniest, saddest, most beautiful film I’ve seen in a long, long time.”

FWIW, I’m also someone who loves Ozu and Tarkovsky.

Most – but not all – reviewers loved this movie, as you can see at Rotten Tomatoes. YMMV.

Well, why did Moulin Rouge get nominated for Oscars? My girlfriend forced me to watch it. I’m sure it cost a bomb to make but it’s one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.

I’ve noticed this too – my wife, who fancies herself as some kind of artsy-fartsy type married to a lowbrow boor with heather growing out between his toes, tends to turn up her nose at these so-called artsy Taiwanese movies. According to her, they are made solely for foreign audiences and without even a cursory nod to local tastes. She also despises anything made by the grey suits in Hollywood.

She slammed the last Chinese movie we saw – Beijing Rocks – for the same reason (I know this is not a Taiwanese movie, but maybe it even reinforces the argument that Chinese directors in general tend to lose their local audiences if they want to penetrate the foreign market). I kind of liked it.

I also liked Moulin Rouge, but mainly because it had Nicole Kidman’s nipple in it.

I cannot comment because I didn’t see the film, nor did I particularly want to.
I’ve never been one for those artsy films anyway. I remember people raving on and on about Peter Greenaway films a while ago, and I couldn’t see the point. Nor could I see the point of overdone camp “Moulin Rouge”, which forced me out of the theatre upon first view, and asleep on the sofa, upon my second attempt. I just wanted her to die and get on with it.
Give me a good old Coen Brothers film anyday. Strong quirky characterisations, black humour, witty dialogue…

“Sir, you have no call to get snippy with me. I’m just doin’ my job here”.

“For pete’s sake, he’s fleein the interview”

“We thought you was a Hhhhorny toad”

from a recent interview Tsai Ming-liang gave the Onion:

[quote]About 10 or 20 years ago, there actually was a film industry in Taiwan. There were studios, there were contracted stars… that kind of situation. However, the studios gradually dissipated, partly because of Hollywood movies, and also because of the burgeoning industry in Hong Kong. The marketplace was taken over entirely by foreign
films, so investors took their money elsewhere. In mainland China, especially, the markets
began to open up and Taiwanese movies were completely shut out. Now, every film that gets made in Taiwan may receive a small subsidy from the government, but most of the financing is outsourced. As a result, the budgets are very low, and the movies have become a little more arty. Every year, the Taiwanese filmmakers have to go through a big meeting with the government to argue over what is a commercial movie and what is an art movie. We go through the same aggravations every year to get the movies made. Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien were two of the first to get recognition in the West, which this has given us new financing overseas. Now that we’re not as reliant on the government to make movies, we have the freedom to do what we want.[/quote]

I watched the movie a couple of days ago and was booooooored. There are some nice scenes, I like most of the scenes with the mother. And the overall concept wasn’t bad, many scenes were just too long and made the movie way too slow (though I usually like slow movies).

Off topic: I watched “Lanyu” yesterday and loved it. I liked the way the story was told, rather fast, no unnecessary details. The DVD I have had some more scenes as a special feature including another 8 minutes of scenes between Chen Handong and his wife. They were interesting but I didn’t really miss them during the movie.



I’ve seen the DVD everywhere. Does it have English sub-titles?

Which one do you mean?

“What time is it there?” is on VCD with English and Chinese subtitles. “Lan Yu” is on DVD with Traditional, Simplified and English subtitles. I prefer the English AND Chinese subtitle version, and it was a bit of a pain that I couldn’t get my DVD player to display Chinese and English at once. I kept switching between the two to get all the Chinese as well as the meaning :blush:


[quote=“sandman”]I also liked Moulin Rouge, but mainly because it had Nicole Kidman’s nipple in it.[/quote]Tom Cruise is in Moulin Rouge :shock:

Oh, and on a side note: I obviously poured Tsai Ming-Liangs little brother white wine yesterday - AWE

We were at that REALLY expensive restaurant, and there was that guy carrying an adorable, cute baby at the drinks buffet next to me. And as I was pouring white wine for myself, and he only had one hand free, I offered to pour for him as well.

Ten minutes later, after an older guy had walked by carrying the same baby and my colleague realized that I couldn’t take my eyes of that cute little thing, she told me that the older guy was Tsay Ming-Liangs father. So when the dad of the baby walked by, I asked her if he was Tsai Ming-Liang by any chance, and she said, no, he was his little brother.

I didn’t really figure out how my colleague knew, though :?


If that is the movie about the guy who sells watches… and blahh blahh blah … can’t remember much else, yea… it was a snooze-fest. My girlfriend lasted 20 minutes before falling asleep, I made it to the end and then later questioned why I did so. I don’t mind arty or slow movies, I like them actually. This was a case of an art movie that was just just too damn boring.

Yup. That’s the movie.

What time is it there?

I know I’m four years too late on this one, but I just saw it (and liked it). What I’d like to know, is why does the young man always pee in a bag at night? Why doesn’t he just go to the toilet?

It it something to do with the recent death of his father?

Also I assume he is reluctant to sell the watch because he is mourning his father and this makes his things unclean/unlucky.