Sunday, February 13, 2011

The cut as a moral question.

 The challenge of a Tsai Ming-liang film is a unique one, because unlike other technical challenges, it is not concerned with how or why, but with when. On every Ming-liang shot, there is window of say, two seconds when the shot must be cut to grant it moral appropriateness – on this side of the window lies heaven, on the other, hell. Ofcourse, when the shot goes on for too long, the viewer realizes the construct behind it, and distantiated from it, feels no remorse or regret for the character on the screen, and instead, may even be amused by his/her crass demeanour – but then, Ming-liang has a tendency to convert the normal people who populate his film into freaks – a tendency completely opposite to Hou-Hsien Hsiao, who presents freaks as normal people.

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