I Don't Want to Sleep Alone Tsai Ming-Liang

There didn’t seem to be anywhere for Tsai Ming-Liang to go after the apocalyptic finale of The Wayward Cloud, but his latest feature offers a purgatorial way station: the fetid metropolis of Kuala Lumpur. There, in the director’s birthplace, is where favourite cast member Lee Kang-sheng collapses in his role as the homeless Hsiao-Kang, who’s taken in by a Bangladeshi worker named Rawang (Norman Atun) and nursed back to health. Rawang doesn’t exactly name the reason he tends to Hsiao-Kang, but we think we might know; at any rate, Hsiao-Kang is on the prowl for a woman after he bounces back, and finds her in Chyi (Cen Shiang-Chyi), a waitress and sometime-caregiver to her boss’s comatose son. However, the real star of the film is the city, which proves to be an even more enveloping place that the director’s adopted home of Taipei and offers the perfect backdrop to the pinched anguish of our leads. The film tries your patience sometimes, meaning you have to be a fan of the director’s still frames and lack of dialogue and forward action, but I’ve been a fan ever since The River and don’t intend to look back yet. Those of us with the intestinal fortitude to stick out the often aimless action will be rewarded with an accumulating mood and antic humour that will make the experience well worthwhile, to say nothing of the change of locale, which switches the Tsai mentality from the cold pseudo-modernism of Taipei to the hotter, more sprawling locale of Kuala Lumpur. This probably isn’t the movie for Tsai neophytes to start with, but it’s a good, satisfying movie for those who count themselves as supporters. (Homegreen)