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Director: Tsai Ming-liang Run Time: 95 min. Release Year: 1999 Language: Chinese

Starring: Hui-Chin Lin, Lee Kang-sheng, Lin Kun-huei, Miao Tien, Yang Kuei-Mei

Set just prior to the start of the 21st century, this vaguely futuristic story follows two residents of a quickly crumbling building who refuse to leave their homes in spite of a virus that has forced the evacuation of the area. As rain pours down relentlessly, a single man is stuck with an unfinished plumbing job and a hole in his floor. This results in a very odd relationship with the woman who lives below him. Combining deadpan humor with an austere view of loneliness and a couple of unexpected musical numbers, Tsai Ming-Liang crafted one of the most original films of the 1990s. Produced for French television’s 2000 Seen by… series, this was originally broadcast in a 69- minute version called Last Dance. This longer version is the director’s preferred cut.

“‘The Hole,’ for all its sorrowful prescience, does not traffic in the customary pandemic-thriller idiom of paranoia and alarm…A genius of deadpan comedy as well as a poet of urban anomie, Tsai fills his meticulously composed frames with revealing details that often double as sight gags…funny, melancholy and finally entrancing” – Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times

“‘The Hole’ proves to be an eerily prophetic and timely movie, perhaps better now than it ever was…**** (4/4 stars)”
– Jeffrey Anderson, San Francisco Examiner

“As it turns out, what might be the best film about how it feels to be alive right now was already made 22 years ago. Tsai Ming-Liang’s playful pandemic romance ‘The Hole’ is a story of lonely hearts in quarantine, longing for love amid the day-to-day drudgery of life during lockdown. It’s a deadpan musical about seeking a friend for the end of the world, following two characters who seldom speak but fall for one another through a hole in the ceiling. I love this movie.”- Sean Burns, WBUR Boston

“The best movie of 2020—and the most 2020 movie of the year—was made in 1998. It’s all brilliantly staged, existential slapstick about life during a very wet pandemic. Did I mention it’s a musical too?” – Bob Strauss, The San Francisco Chronicle (via Tweet)
“Tsai’s most distilled, droll, deftly realized allegory…One of the 10 Best Films of 1999.”- J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

“The most memorable fusion of song, dance and weather since Singin’ in the Rain.” – Dennis Lim, The Village Voice

“A broodingly apocalyptic and thoroughly original view.”- Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle


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