Singin’ in the rain: Lee and Yang in The Hole
photo: The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Singin’ in the rain: Lee and Yang in The Hole

Steeped in free-floating despair, Tsai's films are nonetheless disinclined to take their leave without first maneuvering their lonely individuals into agonizing proximity, poised to achieve momentary contact—a fleeting stolen moment, a hallucinated figment, a soul-scalding collision. His entrenched pessimism notwithstanding, Tsai betrays a romantic's faith in last-minute possibility (a couple of Rebels' final scenes end with doors being left slightly ajar). Concluding grace notes are fraught with ambivalence, and in context, that's more than enough to register as a glimmer of hope.

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