Rebels of the Neon God

“Brilliantly observed… as tender as a Lou Reed elegy.” – Time Out London

“A near-masterpiece…as close as contemporary filmmaking gets to the essence of poetry.“—Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Chicago Reader

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.

One of the most quietly influential films in the world cinema of 1992…a cornerstone of the Taiwanese New Wave…would have fit in quite nicely alongside early ’90s art-house films such as Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy and Wong Kar-wai’s Days of Being Wild and Chungking Express.”
—G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle

“Makes one yearn for an alternative reality where it, not Pulp Fiction, became the beacon of ’90s independent filmmaking.”
—Clayton Dillard, Slant Magazine

1h 46m
Tsai Ming-Liang
Mandarin and Hokkien with English Subtitles
First Showing
May 10, 2024
  • Assisted Listening