From the March 1, 2002 issue of the Chicago Reader. — J.R.
What Time Is It There?
Directed by Tsai Ming-liang
Written by Tsai and Yang Pi-ying
With Lee Kang-sheng, Chen Shiang-chyi, Lu Yi-ching, Miao Tien, Cecilia Yip, and Jean-Pierre Léaud.
After hearing the adagio of a Schubert chamber work: there is nothing more beautiful than the happy moments of unhappy men. This might serve as a definition of art. — The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan
Toward the beginning of his essay “The Crack-Up,” F. Scott Fitzgerald notes that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” That might well describe the agenda of a poetic and philosophical Taiwanese-French feature, Tsai Ming-liang’s glorious two-part invention What Time Is It There?, which premiered at Cannes last year and is opening at the Music Box this week (assuming the theater reopens after some trouble with health inspectors). It feels more contemporary, at least from a global perspective, than any other new movie in town, and central to it is an examination of separateness and togetherness, unity and disparity in two separate countries in two separate parts of the world.… Read more »