Review: Rebels of the Neon God, 1992, dir. Tsai Ming-liang

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“If Tsai Ming-liang hadn’t beaten Nicolas Winding Refn’s career to the punch by several years, Rebels of the Neon God would have been a killer moniker for one of the great Dane’s as-yet-unimagined future projects. Even in that alternate timeline, though, Tsai’s debut feature comes from such a culturally specific place that only he could have conceived it. (The film premiered in 1992, but has only just managed to secure a U.S. release more than two decades after the fact.) The title refers to Nezha, an impulsive, rash child deity of classical Chinese mythological origins. For Tsai’s purposes, though, that name reflects just as keenly on the first of his film’s dueling protagonists, Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng), who represents one side of a coin Tsai sets pirouetting above the endless, thrumming streets of Taipei.” (Via Paste Magazine.)

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