Friday, November 14, 2014

Stray Dogs

Stray Dogs (2013, Taiwan/France, Tsai Ming-liang)

Previously, I had seen 8/9 of Tsai Ming-Liang’s features but none of them in a cinema. However, that has now changed thanks to the Calgary Cinematheque’s screening of Stray Dogs last night. And if reports are true that this is last feature, then it is timely to have seen this film. 

Of all his features, Stray Dogs is the one that deserves to be in an art gallery as it is a living breathing digital painting that comes to life at appropriate moments and uses its stillness to generate ferocious momentum resulting in a devastating impact. The audience also managed to tune into the film’s rhythm. Only two people walked out but they left with such quietness that it was hard to tell they were leaving. And even when the credits rolled, no one stirred. No one was in a hurry to get up and put their jacket on. The audience behaved as if they were in an art gallery watching a work of art, which they were.

Such a film will naturally divide people and here are two such different reviews.

Neil Young describes the film's beauty while Stephen Holden is on the other side of the debate.