Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

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Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:52 pm

Your comments are a little too conservative. Perhaps you're still thinking the film through. I want to write about it detail but I don't think this is the right time since there's no indication of any distribution either here or in the U.K. I also look forward to your review

Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby trevor826 » Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:40 am

Tian bian yi duo yun (2005) The Wayward Cloud - My Opinion.

Directed by Ming-liang Tsai

Starring Kang-sheng Lee, Shiang-chyi Chen

*May contain spoilers*

A film about love, loneliness, longing and sex.

Hsiao-Kang is an actor in porn films, sex is a job and has ceased being a pleasure for him, what he needs is love, genuine love that doesnt necessitate sex.

Shiang-chyi on the other hand is lonely for love and the intimacy of sex, her path crosses with Hsiao-Kangs several times until a quite sweet point where the silence is broken and recognition of each other (from the earlier film What Time Is It There?) is confirmed.

They share time together but Hsiao-Kang isnt interested in getting into a sexual relationship whereas Shiang-chyi appears very willing to give herself to him. Things change when she opens the lift (elevator) one-day to find a girl sprawled on the floor, totally whacked out, probably from drugs. The girl is a porn actress from Japan and before she knows it, Shiang-chyi is helping to drag her limp body to a flat where the porn shoot is taking place. Its here that she discovers what Hsiao-Kang does for a living, its also where the film has its most controversial scenes!

The film is full of metaphors, some very clearly defined, Watermelons for sex and lust, not just one aspect of sex but many. From the substitution of half a watermelon for female genitals, through the juice and pulp as offerings of sex, to the use of a whole melon as a substitute baby.

Water on the other hand equates to love and hope, Taipei, maybe the whole world suffers from a lack of genuine love as opposed to sex which like watermelons can be bought and sold as a commodity. Taipei itself is going through a drought reflecting the lack of love and the loneliness of most of its inhabitants; there is a key moment (sic) where love breaks through bringing with it a trickle of water and hope.

The title The Wayward Cloud in my opinion represents the characters, each listlessly drifting in their own direction until by chance they might bump into another creating rain and a ray of hope.

The film is also interspersed with a number of scenes choreographed and mimed to Chinese popular songs from the 60s, these illustrate how the most innocent sounding songs can actually be full of innuendo and double entendre. I thought the idea to put these throughout the film was pure genius, from the girls dancing around the statue of Chiang Kai-shek surrounded by overblown phallic and yonic plants to the routine set in a large public toilet, tacky, cheesy, camp and brilliant.

So overall what message does the film hold? Porn is cold, uninvolving, machine like and unemotional but not just porn, sex without love is almost as bad. Love is the saving grace for us and although the two can and do mix, you shouldnt substitute, equate or confuse one with the other.

I enjoyed the film but obviously there are moments that have the intention of making you feel uncomfortable (and so they should), definitely only for a mature and fairly broadminded audience, well worth seeing in my opinion.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating but definitely 18.

Region 3 DVD available from several retailers.

Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby Johndav » Sun Jan 22, 2006 11:44 pm

Hengs' lead off covers a lot, and i understand the caveats.

I'm a bit worried about hyperbole at this early stage and for a film that might seem to have similarities with Takashi Miike's much siller and probably more crowd-pleasing outrages- but this may be one of the few utterly brilliant films of the modern era (by which i suppose i mean the current generation). And i'm a bit of an old-fashioned middle-aged classicist! I'll be interested to see what the critic Tony Rayns makes of it, cos he sometimes champions provocative films that strike me as dumb + shallow or pretentious, not at all the socially perceptive + piercing masterpieces he makes out (e.g Miike's Visitor Q he considers "devastating" social critique and he also raves over Jang Soon-Woo tedious Lies).

I like the review, Trev. Interesting point about water, which in the River- the first Tsai film i saw- seemed to me vaguely menacing + constricting, like a circling anaconda; no doubt a very personal Freudian reaction .

And now it seems my imaginary anaconda raises its head into.. a giant dancing penis.

Demy,Almodovar, Fellini meet Tati, Godard, Antonioni, Akerman, Miike, Oshima (Ai No Corrida's egg now a watermelon)..

Tsai takes a range of well-worn styles, themes (yes, impersonal loveless sex, social alienation, angst, the failings of this materialist age and its futile obsessions) references (including to his own work) and genres, opens them out into a unique original mix. It's elegant, witty, beautiful, vibrant, joyful, cold, languid, painful and sensational

I may be reading too much into the social meanings- what of the attitudes to gender?- there's still a lot to sink in. Anyway, i'm really taken with his visual style. I find his use of space, silence + sound, as well as his sense of time, very interesting, and he has an eye for arresting, deceptively clever compositions that remain in the mind, despite quite unpromising or mundane settings.

Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:17 am

Sorry, guys, been busy lately so haven't had a chance to contribute. Here's what I wrote about the film.

Communication, or lack thereof, has been one of the key motifs of Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-liangs oeuvre so far. And a sequence early on in his latest feature, The Wayward Cloud (Tian bian yi duo yun), only confirms that fact: As we watch Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng), last seen auditioning for a porno in Tsais short The Skywalk is Gone (2002), having kinky sex with a voluptuous woman during which he stuffs large pieces of watermelon in her mouth (an act that resonates with the films harrowing final-shot), Tsai cuts to his other protagonist, Shiang-chyi (Chen Shiang-chyi), who is back from Paris (with her suitcase) and now works at a museum, listening to a broadcast proclaiming that watermelons have now become the new symbols of love among residents. It turns out that Hsiao-kang was indeed shooting for a porn film in an apartment right above Shiang-chyis.

Tsais perpetually depopulated Taipei, a metaphor for his characters loneliness, is now experiencing a draughthence the watermelons. The draught symbolizes a lack of love, or a soul, which Tsai believes results from human beings abusing themselves. As Trevor brilliantly stated, "Porn is cold, uninvolving, machine like and unemotional but not just porn, sex without love is almost as bad. Love is the saving grace for us and although the two can and do mix, you shouldnt substitute, equate or confuse one with the other." Tsai has repeatedly voiced his opinion regarding how porn stars use and abuse their bodies, and then how they are thrown away upon arrival of new flesh.

But the approach employed by Tsai in The Wayward Cloud isnt distanced or cold. Indeed, much like his earlier feature The Hole (1998), the filmmaker enlivens his latest with kitschy musical numbers referencing Mandarin pop-songs of the 50s and the 60s. More importantly, however, they vividly project the inner feelings of his characters: one features Hsiao-kang declaring his loneliness; another has an aging porn star claiming a lack of soul; and yet another has our protagonists switching sexual identities. (The film also features numerous droll, comedic moments -- the best of whom involves Hsiao-kangs Japanese porn-partner (Sumomo Yozakura) losing the cap of the bottle inside of her while she was pleasuring herself with it, resulting in a frantic search.) After watching this film, one gets a feeling that Tsai, an avid follower of European Cinema, wouldnt approve of the paths recently treaded by the likes of Breillat, Haneke, or Chreau to explore sexuality in our post-modern world.

The Wayward Cloud is one of Tsais most lucid films. But since, for the most part, Tsai doesnt allow for moment-to-moment contemplation, its possible that its virtues might get counted against him. At the Berlin film festival, where the film had its world premiere, Tsai reportedly clarified his personal stance as being pro-erotic, but anti-pornography. The latter is quite obvious from the film, and the way Tsai, for the first time, fetishizes the tender body of Shiang-chyi (something I wish he wouldve done more of), it becomes apparent what he meant by the former. Having said that, the aforementioned final-shot is a powerful off-kilter moment thats bound to leave a few doubts.

However, amidst ubiquitous alienation and the cumshots, the film features sublimely beautiful moments involving our protagonists -- who only share one line of dialogue: "Are you still selling watches?" Thats what Shiang-chyi asks Hsiao-kang after finding him. (It refers to his occupation in Tsais previous feature What Time Is It There? [2001].) In one scene, as Hsiao-kang takes a bath in the buildings water tank, the result produces bubbles from Shiang-chyis faucet that eventually make their way into her room while she sleeps. Another involves the former pulling the latter under the table, but even though Shiang-chyis is practically ready to be devoured by him, all he does is fall asleep. And in one of the most moving sequences that Tsai has ever shot, Shiang-chyi takes charge and starts to make love to Hsiao-kang, ironically in the porn section of a video-store, but as she readies to take him in her mouth, Hsiao-kang pulls her up and hugs her. Hes simply no longer capable of distinguishing between love, sex, and his mechanical acts.

Toronto and Beijing based writer Shelly Kraicer, an authority on East Asian cinema, stated at the festival that "Tsai Ming-liangs is one of the very few filmmakers working today whose films can change our world," adding that, "This is not mere hyperbole...." I wouldnt think that it was, because theyve certainly changed mine.

Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby A » Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:44 pm

I have still only seen excerpts from the movie, but the one that prompted me that I must see the film (besides being a fan of Tsai) was the passionate scene in the porn store.
Your comments sound all very intriguing!
Where could I get the short "The Skywalk is gone" btw?
I'd like to watch it before "The Wayward Cloud".

Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby trevor826 » Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:24 pm

I can't remember which film it was but arsaib4 did mention it was a bonus feature, maybe with the dvd for "What Time is it There".

I'm sure he'll let you know.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby hengcs » Mon May 22, 2006 1:20 am

Hi to all

A very well written article in FIPRESCI's UNDERCURRENT first issue ...

* Disclaimer
(1) Some screen caps may be controversial (NC16, M18 or R21 ratings needed), read at your own discretion
(2) Some writeups and screen caps may give the story/ending away, again read at your own discretion


My thoughts

-- Definitely well written ... BUT sometimes, I do wonder if critics/audience at times read too much into some techniques/scenes and over credit the director (i.e., he/she does not have that in mind when he/she made the film) ... it is great that critics/audience have many interpretations, but should we credit the director when we read too much into it?! ...

Re: Tian Bian Yi Duo Yun (The Wayward Cloud) (2005) (Taiwan)

Postby A » Mon May 22, 2006 10:14 pm

I think we should always draw the line between what we think the director intended, and what we think the film is saying. For me, what the director intended is mostly irrelevant as I usually focus on the product itself. It can be of course interesting at times, but I have the feeling that too many people interchange the director and the film, which is a bad thing imo. But in the end it's difficult to know what the director wanted to express, unless you ask him. I found out many times how little some directors intended, and how much more complex the film was. But again, usually it is the other way around.
If only most films were as good as their director's wanted them to be...


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