I just watched the film “I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone” by Malaysian director Ming-liang Tsai. Now this is a DIFFERENT kind of film! Not a very good analogy, but I would say my reaction to this film is something similar to the first time I heard “rap” music back in the early 1980’s. I thought to myself at the time, “Don’t know if I like this or not, but no denying that this is different than anything I have heard before!” This film will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, but I was electrified! I Want to watch it again, which I might do tonight.
Some might characterize this film experience as being akin to watching paint dry, but if so this is along the lines of the experience of watching the paint dry on the surface of the Mona Lisa. The camera movement (or rather, lack thereof) is extraordinary — people and objects move (sometimes at the speed of molasses) into and out of the camera’s view. The set design is phenomenal. The sound is creative in ways hard to describe. It creates skin texture aurally that is reminiscent of what “Woman in the Dunes” does visually. The dialog is minimalist, and often unrelated to the main actors, taking place peripherally in off-screen conversations, such as the conversations of customers ordering food in a restaurant at a table off to the side of where the main characters are seated. It portrays love, agape as well as eros, in ways that will linger in the viewer’s mind long after the film is over. One could interpret a large segment of the film as a homily on the Christian parable of the Good Samaritan. It is both uplifting in terms of its detailed portrayal of human capacity for kindness, and terrifying in terms of its apocalyptic vision of the future that may be awaiting all humans on this planet.
I rate this film as 5 out of 5 stars because it is the most creative film I have seen in the past year.