VIFF 09: Day 4 10/05/2009
Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang
Face is a film cohesive in feeling. If I was to describe its plot, I would simply fail. Containing a forest of fake snow and mirrors, a majestic elk, and otherwise unseen portions of the louvre, it is a bold work of stunning images. To say I was with it for the entire 140 minutes would be an outright lie, but I always admired it. During the stronger scenes in Face I was completely engrossed, during others I was distant.
The musical sequences are wonderful, but it is in quieter moments that the full power of Ming-Liang is on display, as he is a master of silence and implied happenstance. Several scenes express an infectious anxiety and fear, some express a deep sadness. Clearly, this is, at least in part, a love letter to french cinema, and in particular Francois Truffaut. Veteran French actor Jean-Pierre Leaud has one of the more prominent roles and his presence brings an intangible weight. Face may not be the most successful film of the festival, but it may stand as the most ambitious.
posted by adam cook