The Wayward Cloud

"OK"

The Wayward Cloud Review


It's all in the timing: Tsai Ming-Liang's long-awaited follow-up to Goodbye, Dragon Inn finally finds distribution and, what one would assume to be, a mouth-agape audience at New York City's Anthology Film Archives. A sort of festival myth, The Wayward Cloud premiered at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival, was released on DVD in Asia and then began to find itself popping up in small festivals all over the U.S. As much as you love to see a film so elusive and divisive finally get an open forum, The Wayward Cloud finds Ming-liang in a rut and unable to elevate his neon wilderness to the heights of the rest of his consistently fascinating oeuvre.

Following What Time is it There? and the short The Skywalk is Gone, The Wayward Cloud catches up with the watch-salesman-turned-porn-star and the unaffected object of his obsession. The opening scene (one for the books) shows Hsiao-Kang (Ming-liang standby Lee Kang-Sheng) sexually violating a watermelon placed between the thighs of a female porn star. While he is tending to his craft, Shiang-chyi (Chen Shiang-Chyi) sits in her apartment, all zombied up by her television set. Their chance meeting occurs in a small outdoor booth in a sunny park, where a small spark is relit that sets off the beautiful mess that follows.

Musical digressions come from nowhere and seemingly mean nothing to the story. Whether it's Hsiao-Kang donning a reptilian swimsuit and crooning to an indifferent moon or a parade of dancers twirling umbrellas designed with watermelon patterns, Ming-liang's delusional panorama doesn't suffice as dreamy escapism (e.g. Dancer in the Dark) nor does it further the story in the classical musical sense. There's a sense of hollow pageantry to these scenes that distances the audience rather than engages them; the same goes for the film.

The deeper you go into the bunny hole, the stranger this mess gets: the thematic devices get tired and overplayed (water, elevators, those watermelons!) and the story begins to let go of any sense of trajectory and point. The Wayward Cloud plays out predominantly as a procession of Ming-liang patented sublime compositions but without the fluidity and metaphysical dazzle that has defined his best work (The River, Goodbye, Dragon Inn).

Though by miles more interesting than the normal crap being dumped in your local megaplex, Ming-liang's audacious stab at a sexually-devious musical seems like one of those rare films that doesn't suit the director's goosestepping auteurism in any sense. Anyone but die-hard fans should be warned that they might resemble the two leads laying on the kitchen floor in existentially-bored reverie by film's end. Even as the film's titular image floats by above its characters, one can't help but think that this is the first time that Ming-liang has let his daydream get away from him.

Aka Tian bian yi duo yun.



The Wayward Cloud

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th March 2005

Distributed by: IFC First Take

Production compaines: Homegreen Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Hsiao-Kang, as Shiang-chyi, Sumomo Yozakura as Japanese Porn Star, as Mother, Yang Kuei-mei as Taiwanese Porn Actress

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.