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The Hole (Dong)


Dir. Tsai Ming-liang. 1998, 95 mins. Archival 35mm print from UCLA Film & Television Archive. With Yang Kuei-mei, Lee Kang-sheng, Miao Tien. Part musical, part-apocalyptic fable, and entirely without precedent, Tsai’s fourth feature begins a week shy of 2000, as Taipei is in the grip of a mysterious epidemic (“Taiwan Fever”) ensuing after a monsoon. Lagging behind the evacuation, Hsiao-kang meets his downstairs neighbor when a plumber accidentally creates a hole connecting their apartments, a breach that gradually widens. Tsai contrasts the dreariness of the apartment block with the splendiferous production numbers set to the lip-synched music of Grace Chang, sequences that are lavish expressions of bottled-up desire.

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