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Rebels of the Neon God

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Director: Tsai Ming-liang, Tsai Ming-liang, Tsai Ming-liang, Tsai Ming-liang, Tsai Ming-liang
1992 / 106min / DCP

Tsai’s first theatrically released film isn’t as pared down in its approach as some of his later works—it even has a rather catchy synth theme song!—but in most respects it’s pure Tsai, a film about urban loners and the city’s (largely unfulfilled) promises of connection and sexual intimacy. Lee Kang-Sheng, Tsai’s acteur fétiche, stars as a teenaged Taipei arcade rat who develops an obsession with a young petty hoodlum (Chen Chao-jung) that’s a tangle of vengeful wrath and repressed lust. An extraordinary debut, in which aspects of all its maker’s films to come are visible.

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