Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Taiwan 1998
Directed by
Tsai Ming-Liang
95 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Hole

Tsai Ming-Liang’s The Hole touches on both the urban dystopia and epidemic categories of film although in the main it's a very offbeat romance . Set in contemporary Taiwan, seven days before the turn of the millennium, it depicts the activities of two unnamed residents (Tsai regulars, Lee Kang-Sheng and Yang Kuei-Mei) of a run-down apartment block which has been quarantined after the outbreak of a virus that induces its victims to behave like cockroaches.  Yang's apartment is directly below Lee's and when a leak develops a plumber looking for a leaking pipe unceremoniously knocks a hole in Lee's floor/Yang's ceiling. As plumber seem to do around the world he then disappears and so the hitherto isolated neighbours become connected.

The Hole is a mordantly comic allegory of ordinary life in contemporary Taipei. With virtually no dialogue and a soundscape that consists largely of continuous torrential rain punctuated by a television commentator’s updating on the progress of the epidemic, takes which are held to the limits of endurance, sometimes followed by wildly contrasting, gloriously kitsch Asian pop song and dance numbers using the music of Hong Kong 1950s chanteuse Grace Chang, urban alienation doesn’t come much tellingly than this.

Whilst no doubt the film would resonate more with a domestic audience, like Tsia’s previous films, The River (1997) and Vive L’Amour (1994), The Hole is a poignant portrait of modern loneliness and the ways in which people try to deal with it.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst