Monday, March 14, 2022

First Look ’22: The Night (short)

As a Taiwan based filmmaker, it makes sense Tsai Ming-liang would have an affinity for Hong Kong. What the CCP has unleashed on the no-longer-Special Administrative District, it would dearly love to inflict on the independent Taiwanese nation as well. The sadness of solidarity is definitely reflected in Tsai’s short documentary, The Night, which screens Wednesday (opening night) of MOMI’s First Look 2022.

The truth is you could maybe, possibly still screen
The Night in Hong Kong. Although shot on the streets during the 2019 Extradition Bill protests, it is not explicitly political. Instead, Tsai films the tired, nocturnal comings-and-goings of those who work and commute during the late-night hours. Only if you look and squint can you see the remnants of protests posters ripped from tunnels and underpasses.

In short,
The Night very definitely has a Tsai Ming-liang kind of vibe. It is quiet and sometimes almost meditative, in its long-held longshots. Yet, the mournful, bittersweet tone takes on greater meaning, in light of the repression to come.

The Night
could be described as a slow-cinema short film. Arguably, it also represents an elegy for a special place that is in grave danger of losing its culture and way of life. “One Country Two Systems” is effectively dead. Xi and Carrie Lam killed it. Everything else that made Hong Kong special is now endanger. Tsai records it as it was, during moments of hushed stillness. Recommended for its empathy and observant eye, The Night screens before Murina this Wednesday night (3/16), as part of MOMI’s First Look.