The Hole (Dong)


The Hole (Dong)

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Reviews Counted: 10

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,858


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, this Taiwanese-French drama won a FIPRESCI Award, given by international critics. Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang previously won top awards for his 1994 Vive l'amour (at Venice) and 1996 The River (at Berlin). High strangeness is evident in the tale, originally initiated as part of the French TV series of one-hour end-of-millennium dramas. As an epidemic spreads through Taipei, virus victims display odd symptoms. A man (Lee Kang-sheng) who runs a food store with few customers lives in a shabby building in a quarantined section, and a woman (Yang Kuei-mei) in the same building has a withdrawn existence. A plumber, checking a leak, makes a hole in the man's floor and leaves; the man then observes his neighbors through the hole. The film features four musical fantasy sequences that recall Hong Kong musical films of the '50s.


Kang-sheng Lee
as The Man Upstairs
Kuei-Mei Yang
as The Woman Downstairs
Tien Miao
as A Shopper
Hsiang-Chu Tong
as The Plumber

Critic Reviews for The Hole (Dong)

All Critics (10)

I tend to think it's good, if you can appreciate what it sets out to be. My problem is that it's representative of a type of filmmaking I can't appreciate and don't enjoy.

Feb 11, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

An illuminating, musical embrace for the ages.

Mar 8, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

A minimal story that is too thin for a feature film.

Mar 26, 2003 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

The humor and ennui that Tsai's vision of dystopia evokes is both unique and compelling.

Mar 13, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

If you enjoy movies that provoke 'what if?' debates afterwards in the theatre lobby, you'll dig The Hole.

Oct 28, 2001

Cheerfully postulates the end of the world as an invitingly loony escapade.

Jul 7, 2001 | Rating: short | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Hole (Dong)


The musical numbers don't always fit organically within the story, but Tsai's bleak idea of a post-apocalyptic Taiwan under constant rain and in maximum literal isolation is a powerful one as he pictures modern disconnected people turning into cockroaches in the middle of garbage.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


An epidemic hits Taiwan, people who suffered from the disease become cockroach like in terms of their behaviour. A plumber created a hole in a man's apartment and the man and his neighbour began to suffer from the delusions and hallucinations of the effect of the disease. The hole represented the depression in a socially planned urban environment, everyone fills it with different methods. The hole is also a musical that juxtaposed the depression with cheerful tunes.

Sylvester Kuo
Sylvester Kuo

Super Reviewer

like my favorite depression era cinema: bleak as all hell, with musical numbers!!

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


Directed by Tsai Ming-liang, "The Hole" reminds me of a story a friend told me about how in California people who would normally keep to themselves would work together to repair a wall after an earthquake, so they never had to speak to each other again. In this movie, there is an epidemic that causes people to act like cockroaches. Most of the population has been evacuated to quarantine camps but a few hardy souls stay behind. One of them(Yang Kuei-Mei) has her beauty treatment interrupted by dust from a hole in the ceiling that was not there before. Strangely enough, this does not lead to an increased amount of interaction with her upstairs neighbor(Lee Kang-sheng) who runs a store. Full of millenial angst, "The Hole" works in contrast to the director's "The Wayward Cloud" where there is a persistant drought. Here, it never stops raining and the infrastructure is collapsing. So, the musical numbers are a necessary place for the characters to escape into.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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