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Tsai Ming-Liang: In Dialogue with Time, Memory, and Self

October 20, 2022 – November 13, 2022

The Museum of Modern Art

In the three decades since his debut feature, Rebels of the Neon God (1992), Tsai Ming-Liang (b. 1957) has built a contemplative body of work that ruminates on fundamental experiences of existence. His focus on themes of solitude, alienation, and desire early in his career eventually expanded to explorations of the passage of time, memory, and spirituality later on; Tsai aspires to observe life and, consequently, has put his inner self on display. A maverick whose long takes have stretched the limits of filmic minimalism and stillness, Tsai has also reconsidered the very concept of cinema by borrowing elements from performance and Conceptual art. Nothing encapsulates this evolving exploration like his ongoing Walker series (2012–), a set of films or, rather, recordings of live performances, depicting his muse/alter ego Lee Kang-Sheng as a Buddhist monk moving through contemporary settings at an impossibly slow pace, pushing against currents in time and space.

This retrospective, which marks Tsai and Lee’s first visit to the US since 2009, opens with their latest feature, Days (2020), and includes 14 features and four shorts  directed by Tsai. A highlight is the first US theatrical run of Face (2009) on 35mm, a new addition to MoMA’s film collection. The director will share his memories of cinema in a special improvised live event, and two rarely seen films directed by Lee and produced by Tsai—The Missing (2003) and Single Belief (2016)—complete the retrospective.

Organized by La Frances Hui, Curator, Department of Film.

 

Film at MoMA is made possible by  CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston. 

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Rebels of the Neon God. 1992. Taiwan. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Big World Pictures

Vive L’amour. 1994. Taiwan. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Central Motion Picture Corporation

The River. 1997. Taiwan. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Central Motion Picture Corporation

The Hole. 1998. Taiwan/France. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Taiwanese Film Institute

What Time Is It There? 2001. Taiwan/France. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang.  Courtesy Homegreen Films

Goodbye, Dragon  Inn. 2003. Taiwan. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

The Missing. 2003. Taiwan. Directed by Lee Kang-Sheng. Courtesy Homegreen Films

The Wayward Cloud. 2005. Taiwan/France. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone. 2006. Malaysia/Taiwan/France/China/Austria. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

Face. 2009. Taiwan/France/Belgium/Netherlands. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

Stray Dogs. 2013. Taiwan/France. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

Journey to the West. 2014. Taiwan. Directed by Tsai Ming-liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

Afternoon. 2015. Taiwan. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

Your Face. 2018. Taiwan/France. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

Days. 2020. Taiwan. Directed by Tsai Ming-Liang. Courtesy Homegreen Films

Tsai Ming-Liang: Improvisations on the Memory of Cinema. Courtesy of the artist