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Journey to the West

Tsai Ming-liang
Xi You
France, Taiwan 2014 / 56’

Following the films What Time Is It Over There? and Face, Tsai Ming-liang continues his flirtation with French culture. This time, the one-time subject of the New Horizons Retrospective observes Lee Kang-sheng, who travels the streets of Marseille dressed as a Buddhist monk. Before, in the very same outfit, Tsai’s favorite actor walked around Hong Kong, Taipei, and Malaysia. Journey to the West, like Walker or Walking on the Water, is yet another in a series of meditations by the director on the subject of traveling by foot. All of these film experiments are linked by a formal minimalism. Journey to the West differs from its predecessors because of the subject of a clash of cultures that Tsai features. The figure of the monk, wandering aimlessly among the streets of a French city, stands out in stark contrast to the tumult resounding all around. At the same time, the hero finds an unexpected follower. Leos Carax’s favorite actor, Denis Lavant, gives the impression that he is playing yet another role given to him by the mysterious creator of Holy Motors.  

Piotr Czerkawski

Tsai Ming-liang

Born in 1957 in Kuching, Malaysia. After living there for 20 years, he moved to Taiwan. He completed film and drama studies in 1982 at the Chinese University in Taipei. He won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1994 for Vive L'Amour and the Grand Special Jury Prize in 2013 for Stray Dogs. He is known for his frequent collaboration with actor Lee Kang-sheng. He was the subject of the New Horizons Retrospective in 2009.

Selected filmography

1994 Niech żyje miłość / Ai qing wan sui / Vive l'Amour

1997 Rzeka / He liu / The River

2003 Bu san / Good Bye, Dragon Inn

2009 Twarz / Visage / Face

2013 Bezpańskie psy / Jiao you / Stray Dogs

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Official site

Cast & Crew

director Tsai Ming-liang
screenplay Tsai Ming-liang
cinematography Antoine Héberlé
editing Lei Shen Qing
music Sébastien Mauro
cast Lee Kang-sheng, Denis Lavant
producer Frédéric Bellaïche, Vincent Wang
production House on Fire
Polish distributor Gutek Film
language Mandarin
colouration colour