Skip to main content


Taiwan / France, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Tsai Ming-Liang

The latest from Tsai Ming-liang - a dynamo on the Taiwanese film scene - is a poignant, frequently amusing and whimsical, journey through the human conditions of memory and yearning, filtered through an illuminating, at times cinematically referenced, humour. Hsiao-Kang sells watches on the streets of Taipei. When his father dies suddenly, his mother becomes obsessed with his 'return'. Hsiao-Kang soon meets Shiang-Chyi, a beautiful woman who happens to be moving to Paris. Fixated on their brief encounter, he starts to set every watch in Taipei to Paris time. Meanwhile in Paris, Shiang-Chyi confronts mysterious events that seem to connect the two of them.

"Forbidden by his mother to use the toilet for fear of startling his father's soul, Hsiao-kang is compelled to urinate into a plastic bag. Activities have an almost Warholian lack of affect. Hsiao-kang squats by his stand idly trying to smash the crystal of an unbreakable watch by swatting it against the metal guard-rail. What Time Is It There? is filled with purposeful, if absurd, activity rendered gravely hilarious through Tsai's deadpan, distanced representation of extreme behaviour." - Village Voice

Tsai Ming-Liang (born in Malaysia, 1957) moved to Taiwan in 1977 and graduated from the drama department of the Chinese Cultural University in 1981, then worked in theatre and television before moving to film. His previous films include Rebels of the Neon God (1992), Vive l'amour (1994), The River (1996) and The Hole (1998).

See also...


With a week until the 21st century dawns, Taiwan is drenched by an unending rainstorm and scourged by a mysterious disease that has reached epidemic propor­tions. The government decrees a massive ... More »


“Albeit closer to ballet than drama, this urban nocturne is one of Tsai's most beautiful and naturalistic films.” - Village Voice Taiwan's champion of minimalism, Tsai Ming-liang (What Time is It ... More »


Blue Gate Crossing is a lyrical and tender ode to the difficult, and often precarious phase of moving from adolescence to adulthood. ... Flighty Yuezhan has a typical schoolgirl crush on the handsome ... More »


A modern-day taxi driver leads a second life as a would be Casanova. From the opening scene, where he poses for wedding photos with his bride to be, we watch through flashbacks as events unfold. The ... More »


Blue Spring is about high school anarchy, hairstyles and rock'n'roll. In a school where the students set the rules while teachers are dangled from windows, students play a deadly game of chicken to ... More »


Part screwball comedy, part social commentary, Ray Bang is both a great deal of fun and a warm meditation on the hopes and dreams of a trio of deadbeat cab drivers. Hak-Rak contends with a wife ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director