Rebels of the Neon God

Rebels of the Neon God ★★★★★

this is the rawest depiction of taipei’s motor-fueled alienation i have seen. even now, the street vendors, arcade machines, rundown motels that seem a bit too sketchy at night, and most exorbitantly, the constant vibrations of the city’s traffic mounted with the reverberations of motorcycle engines are still kicking around.

the youth’s aimless wandering that’s headed to absolute nowhere on the back of the fastest getaway they can think of never diminished its meaning as the quickest mode of transportation. tsai ming liang’s continuous employment of motorbikes is not an idea born out of convenience because how ubiquitous motorcycles are in taiwan, but the most fitting way to stand in for the visage of a collective that can’t be quieted down. 

the last time a taiwanese film that left me in the same state of disconsolation and reminiscence for a version of taiwan before i was born was when i watched the boys from fengkuei (1983, hou hsiao-hsien.) they each cast down a light on the taiwanese youth, not to excoriate them, not to sugarcoat, but simply allowing them to exist. 

this time, the stagnant, permeant pool of water in ah tze’s apartment, the oily black image of cockroaches scurrying around and floating about, the ephemerally glorious honda motorbikes, the explosive harangue of taiwanese expletives, the sound of hsiao-kang’s dad saying he “[hasn’t] watched a movie in a long, long time” and him shoving a plate of watermelon slices down his son’s, the sole, boding score for the entire film (which i wish was up on spotify so i can walk around the city listening to it), and that sweet, sweet first taste of revenge— these. these will be the new additions etched down in my own mural of taiwan.

Block or Report

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