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Ni na bian ji dian (What Time Is It Over There?) Reviews

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Saskia D

Super Reviewer

July 1, 2008
I slow film about loss, emptiness, loneliness and the need to fill this up, to be somewhat in control and not being able to. Very delicate.
December 21, 2009
An encounter, a goodbye, infinite loneliness of life, and a miracle that conquers them all... Beautiful, beautiful film all about a very subtle but common feeling to us all.
GringoTex
August 14, 2009
I had trouble reconciling the austere, severe mise-en-scene with the cutesy subject matter in this particular film. But this is a director I want to see more of.
spicyeye
November 30, 2008
probably the most dragging movie i've seen in 2002. my friggin friend --- gian --- highly recommended it, wondering what got into him. not that it sucked and all, it just probably didn't appeal to me. or like what chie said (the one i watched it with) "What the ----, if it wasn't for the freakin mother I could have gone out of the cinema." The bright side, it was kindda dark, a hellish bloody dark comedy. That has scrimed dialogue. A thriller wannabe, teaches you the very essence of the absurd Chinese culture. and that could give it some credit. But I still can't believe it actually won an award?
February 3, 2007
A film about our desire to feel connected to others through synchonicity of time. Don't see this if you don't have an attention span of less then one minute. Tsai has the Bresson minimalist style down pat. He also is obviously influenced by Ozu, as his camera never moves. The quirky dead pan humor contrasts with the lonely pathos and urban alienation of his characters. Watch for a cameo by a certain French star who spearheaded the French New Wave. This is a film that wears its European art film influences proudly on its sleeve, from its homages to Kieslowski's Rouge and Truffaut's 400 Blows, to the aforementioned Bressonian minimalism.

The Story concerns a young man who sells watches on a skywalk in Taipei. His father has recently passed away and his Buddist mother copes with the loss by trying to lure his spirit back to their home. One day he sells his own dual time watch to a young woman who is leaving for Paris. He becomes obsessed with Paris and starts to set all of his watches to Parisian time, soon even resetting other people's clocks. Unkown to him, his actions estabilish a metaphysical connectiion between the three characters.

The Skywalk is Gone - 9/10

A short film that serves as the epilogue of What Time is it There? and the prologue to The Wayward Clouds. The skywalk where Hsiao Kang sells his watches and met Shiang Chyi has suddenly dissappeared when she returns to Taipei. This leads to some hilarious gags and forces Hsiao Kang to become a porn actor.
March 10, 2013
This is the second film I've seen by Ming-liang Tsai and it shares the same rhythms with that later one (Goodbye Dragon Inn) -- that is, slow and still. The shots often feature "ugly" settings (e.g., toilets, messy rooms) but are shot with colored lights or filters (and dressed with certain objects) such that the complementary hues stand out. The plot itself is about loss and lack of connection (a father/husband passes away, a girl goes on a trip to a country where she doesn't speak the language) but it doesn't feel as depressed or dejected as that sounds -- instead it feels rather mysterious. This sense of mystery is heightened by the film's ending in Paris. What resonance might an object like the watch (transferred from one to another) hold, spiritually, psychologically? Is this the key to the puzzle? Deeper allusions to reincarnation (the wheel of time) abound and turning back time might be a very common human yearning. Something to ponder.
January 21, 2013
A very very weird movie
K L
December 12, 2012
Having found A WAYWARD CLOUD hopelessly and completely distasteful, I was reluctant to give Tsai Ming-Liang a second chance. But I did, and I have to say that WHAT TIME IS IT OVER THERE is a very interesting film.
November 16, 2007
The starkness grow on you.
pinkyfoo
May 9, 2010
Really slow, but with occasional bursts of humor and emotion.
sayurkangkung
April 15, 2010
Desire, loneliness, passion, alienation, those are things you'll find in this look into modern society. Although the pace is slow and really minimalist if you're getting used to MTV generation flicks, patient viewers will be rewarded with the value of love and life throughout the entire film. How the sequel of this film, "The Wayward Cloud" could become that weird, freaky musical comedy & artistic porn at the same time was completely beyond me....
Kosmo Film
June 8, 2009
What I found here is much more rewarding than the previous Tsai film I watched. For his films, rewarding means interesting. I felt the realness of the individuals in this film, and while there isn't much conversation in the film by any means, there is more in this film than in the other. Pretty much, this is a lot like "3-Iron", yet, gun to my head, I'd still say "3-Iron" is better.

I'm back in a movie watching mood. I'm to be back even though this website and journal formatting is not as good as the old way. I hope they switch it back very soon.
richardgwhite
March 2, 2006
I might have liked this film had I not started watching it too late. :(
Alex Murillo
August 24, 2005
(SHORT REVIEW):

This is the type of film that gushing critics might call "a brilliant study of urban isolation". I call it boring. Director Tsai Ming-liang has made what amounts to little more than a series of static shots that show characters engaged in the mundane activities of everyday life (and since the shots aren't particularly well-composed, the film is a genuine chore to sit through). I was on the film's tedious wavelength for about the first ten or so minutes, but it lost me when a character got out of bed in the middle of the night to urinate in a plastic bag for no apparent reason. When a film presents itself as a series of still-lifes, it should at least be able to keenly observe the way we behave...not undermine itself with pretensious moments that are supposed to "symbolize" something. The movie, which purports to deal with how a family reacts to the death of their patriarch, is almost entirely bankrupt emotionally, which is odd considering that the subject matter lends itself to an emotional treatment. There are some scattered moments that are quite touching, such as one in which the dead man's son lies awake late at night and begins to cry. But these moments are few and far between, and despite the fact that many critics claimed the film was a comedy, I didn't crack a smile once during [I]What Time Is It There?[/I]. The movie ends with an amusing image that is meant to represent the cyclical nature of life, but the shot is simply a reminder that what has led up to it has been bland and forgettable. Films this dull are doubly unfortunate, because they punish the curiousity of filmgoers who are willing to watch a non-commercial movie. In other words, [I]What Time Is It There?[/I] gives a bad name to art.
OppressedWriter
July 19, 2005
[i]What Time Is It There? [/i]is a difficult film to watch. Tsai Ming Ling's style involves beautifully composed shots that linger for minutes, where characters peform the most dull of actions. At first this may seem tedious and pretentious, but it has purpose, it allows us to see glimpses of their pain as they strike a look of genuine sadness amidst the banality of their actions. It is much like ourselves, as we sit and reflect on missed connections, past hardships, and uncertain futures. We lay on our beds and stare at the ceiling. We stand in the kitchen, eating food off the counter. We take the long way home and get lost in our music. All of this we do to escape that nagging feeling - is there something more than this? The beautiful reality of it all is that although we may be alone, we are together in our loneliness. Ming-Liang understands this and creates it with haunting realism.
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