1. Days- Two men sit on the edge of a hotel room bed. The camera is positioned at a remove, with one man angled toward it and the other facing away. They are looking at each other after a scene where a massage turned into an ecstatic sexual encounter; now, one man, the one facing the camera, gets a music box and hands it to the other.
This moment in Tsai Ming-liang’s Days cemented it as my favorite film of the year. The simple, nearly wordless exchange between the men (played by Lee Kang-sheng and Anong Houngheuangsy) is somehow more intimate and powerful than what preceded it. Before (and after) the two drift together, Tsai observes them apart, building a profound and disorienting sense of isolation as the men do things like seek treatment for back pain, clean and cook at an apartment, and wander the streets alone. The quiet, deliberate rhythms he builds in these various spaces are transfixing and linger in the mind long after the film concludes.Continue reading