Jiao You | Tsai Ming-liang, 2013
Taiwan/France | Mandarin with English subtitles | 138 minutes
In the newest film from Tsai Ming-liang, a single father (Tsai mainstay Lee Kang-sheng) makes his meager living holding up an advertising placard on a traffic island in the middle of a busy highway. His children (Lu Yi-ching and Li Yi-cheng) wait out their days in supermarkets before they eat with their father and go to sleep in an abandoned building. As the father starts to come apart, a woman in the supermarket (Chen Shiang-chyi, also a Tsai regular) takes the children under her wing. There are real stray dogs to be fed in Tsai’s everyday apocalypse, but the title also refers to its principal characters, living the cruelest of existences on the ragged edges of the modern world. Stray Dogs is many things at once: minimal in its narrative content and syntax, as visually powerful as it is emotionally overwhelming, and bracingly pure in both its anger and its compassion. One of the finest works of an extraordinary artist.
Travel support generously provided by Taipei Cultural Center in New York.