Tsai Ming-liang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Tsai Ming Liang)

Tsai Ming-Liang
Tsai at the 2013 Tokyo Filmex
Born (1957-10-27) 27 October 1957 (age 66)
Kuching, Crown Colony of Sarawak (present-day Kuching, Malaysia)
Alma materChinese Culture University, Taipei
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter
Years active1989–present
AwardsVenice Film FestivalGolden Lion
1994 – Vive L'Amour
Grand Jury Prize
2013 – Stray Dogs

Berlin Film Festival
Silver Bear
1997 – The River

Golden Horse AwardsBest Feature Film
1994 – Vive L'Amour
Best Director
1994 – Vive L'Amour
2013 – Stray Dogs

Chinese name
Hanyu PinyinCài Míngliàng

Tsai Ming-liang (Chinese: 蔡明亮; born 27 October 1957) is a Malaysian filmmaker based in Taiwan. Tsai has written and directed 11 feature films, many short films, and television films. He is one of the most celebrated "Second New Wave" film directors of Taiwanese cinema. His films have been acclaimed worldwide and have won numerous awards at festivals. In 1994, Tsai won the Golden Lion at the 51st Venice International Film Festival for the film Vive L'Amour.

Early life[edit]

Tsai was born in Malaysia, is of Chinese descent and spent his first 20 years in Kuching, Sarawak, after which he moved to Taipei, Taiwan. This, he said, had "a huge impact on [his] mind and psyche". "Even today", Tsai has said, "I feel I belong neither to Taiwan nor to Malaysia. In a sense, I can go anywhere I want and fit in, but I never feel that sense of belonging."[1]

Tsai graduated from the Drama and Cinema Department of the Chinese Culture University of Taiwan in 1982 and worked as a theatrical producer, screenwriter, and television director in Hong Kong. From 1989 to 1991, he directed several telefilms. One of these, Boys, starred his muse, Lee Kang-sheng.



Tsai's first feature film was Rebels of the Neon God (1992). A film about troubled youth in Taipei, it starred Lee as the character Hsiao-Kang. Lee went on to appear in all of Tsai's feature films as of 2023. Tsai's second feature, Vive L'Amour (1994), is about three people who unknowingly share an apartment. The film is slow-paced, has little dialogue, and is about alienation; all of these became Tsai's trademarks. Vive L'Amour was critically acclaimed and won the Golden Horse Awards for best picture and best director.

Tsai's next film was The River (1997), in which a family has to deal with the son's neck pain. The family is similar to one that appears in Rebels of the Neon God and is played by the same three actors. The Hole (1998) is about two neighbors in an apartment. It features several musical numbers.


In Tsai's next film, What Time Is It There? (2001), a man and a woman meet in Taipei before the woman travels to Paris. This was Tsai's first film to star Chen Shiang-chyi, who starred in his next few films alongside Lee. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003) is about people inside an old cinema that is closing down. For this film, Tsai included even longer shots and fewer lines of dialogue than in previous films, a trend that continued in his later work. The Wayward Cloud (2005) is a sequel to What Time Is It There? in which Hsiao-Kang and Shiang-chyi meet again and start a relationship while Hsiao-Kang works as a pornographic film actor. This film, like The Hole, features several musical numbers.

Tsai's next film, I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (2006), was his first set in Malaysia and is about two different characters, both played by Lee. In 2007, the Malaysian Censorship Board banned the film based on incidents shown depicting the country "in a bad light" for cultural, ethical, and racial reasons, but later allowed it to be screened in the country after Tsai agreed to censor parts of the film according to the board's requirements.[2] Tsai's next film, Face (2009), is about a Taiwanese director who travels to France to shoot a film.


Tsai (left) was named Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the 2010 Busan International Film Festival.

Tsai's next feature film was Stray Dogs (2013), about a homeless family.

Most of Tsai's output in the 2010s was dedicated to his exhibition films, in particular the Walker series (2012-22), the subject of which was a monk played by Lee who travels by walking slowly, usually surrounded by a busy background.

In 2020, Tsai released Days, which competed for the Golden Bear at the Berlinale film festival.

In 2021, Tsai released Wandering, a short installation film with no dialogue, which follows a woman visiting an exhibition of Tsai's "Walker" series in Taiwan.


Tsai's honours include a Golden Lion (best picture) for Vive L'Amour at the 51st Venice International Film Festival; the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize for The River at the 47th Berlin International Film Festival;[3] the FIPRESCI award for The Hole at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival;[4] and the Alfred Bauer Prize and Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Achievement for The Wayward Cloud at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival; the Grand Jury Prize at the 70th Venice International Film Festival for Stray Dogs. In 1995, he was a member of the jury at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival.[5]

In 2003, The Guardian voted Tsai No. 18 of the 40 best directors in the world.[6] In 2014, he was named an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the government of France.[7]


Feature films[edit]

Year Title
1992 Rebels of the Neon God
1994 Vive L'Amour
1997 The River
1998 The Hole
2001 What Time Is It There?
2003 Goodbye, Dragon Inn
2005 The Wayward Cloud[8]
2006 I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
2009 Face[9]
2013 Stray Dogs[10][11]
2020 Days[12]

"Walker" series[13][edit]

Year Title
2012 No Form[14]
2012 Walker
2012 Diamond Sutra[15][16]
2012 Sleepwalk
2013 Walking on Water
2014 Journey to the West[17]
2015 No No Sleep
2018 Sand
2022 Where

Other exhibition works[edit]

Year Title
2001 Fish, Underground (or A Conversation with God)
2002 The Skywalk Is Gone
2008 Madame Butterfly– part of the Lucca Film Festival project "Twenty Puccini"[18][19][20][21]
2015 Xiao Kang[22][23]
2017 The Deserted[24]
2019 Light
2021 Màn bù jīng xīn [Casually] [aka Wandering]
2021 Liang ye bu neng liu / The Night
2021 The Moon and the Tree[13]
2022 Where do you stand, Tsai Ming-Liang?[13]


Year Title Notes
2004 Welcome to São Paulo "Aquarium"
2007 To Each His Own Cinema "It's a Dream"
2012 Beautiful 2012 "Walker"[25][26][27][28]
2013 Letters from the South "Walking on Water"[29][30][31]
2015 Beautiful 2015 "No No Sleep"[32][33]


Year Title
2008 Sleeping on Dark Waters
2015 Nà gè xià wu [That Afternoon, aka Afternoon][34][35]
2018 Your Face[36]


Year Title
1989 Endless Love
1989 The Happy Weaver
1989 Far Away
1989 All Corners of the World
1990 Li Hsiang's Love Line
1990 My Name is Mary
1990 Ah-Hsiung's First Love
1991 Give Me a Home
1991 Boys
1991 Hsio Yueh's Dowry
1995 My New Friends


Tsai frequently recasts actors he has worked with on previous films:

Actor Rebels of the
Neon God

Vive L'Amour
The River
The Hole
What Time
Is It There?

Dragon Inn

The Wayward

I Don't Want
to Sleep Alone

Stray Dogs
Lee Kang-sheng Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Lu Yi-ching Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Yang Kuei-mei Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Chen Shiang-chyi Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Chen Chao-jung Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Miao Tien Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Norman Atun Green tickY Green tickY


  1. ^ Huang, Andrew (18 February 2005). "Sense and sensuality: Art-house master Tsai Ming-Liang discusses his new movie 'The Wayward Cloud,' and his philosophies in a moody, existential interview". Taiwan News.
  2. ^ "Cutting for change", TheStar Online, 14 May 2007.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1997 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Hole". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  5. ^ "45th Berlin International Film Festival". berlinale.de. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  6. ^ Bradshaw, Peter; Brooks, Xa; Haskell, Molly; Malcolm, Derek; Pulver, Andrew; Rich, B. Ruby; Rose, Steve (13 November 2003). "The world's 40 best directors". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  7. ^ Wang, Jing-yi; Chen, Jay (14 August 2014). "Movie director Tsai Ming-Liang conferred with French order". Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Berlinale Programme 2005 – Tian bian yi duo yun The Wayward Cloud". berlinale.de. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Face". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  10. ^ STRAY DOGS by Tsai Ming Liang | Urban Distribution International. Urbandistrib.com. Retrieved on 29 Jul 2015.
  11. ^ 70th Venice International Film Festival – Venezia 70 - Jiaoyou (Stray Dogs). Labiennale.org. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  12. ^ [https://www.berlinale.de/en/press/press-releases/detail_34516.html 2020 Berlinale competition announcement. Berlinale.de. Retrieved on 02 February 2020.
  13. ^ a b c "Tsai Ming-Liang | Centre Pompidou Retrospective Brochure" (PDF).
  14. ^ Festival international de cinéma – International film festival. FIDMarseille. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  15. ^ "69th Venice International Film Festival – Orizzonti - Jingang jing (Diamond Sutra) – Short Film – Closing Screening". labiennale.org. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  16. ^ English – Past Exhibitions – Past Exhibitions. Ntmofa.gov.tw. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Berlinale Programme 2014 – Xi You Journey to the West". berlinale.de. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  18. ^ Festival international de cinéma – International film festival. FIDMarseille. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  19. ^ Ming Liang TSAI: Madame Butterfly | Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid |. Art-action.org. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  20. ^ (in German) MADAME BUTTERFLY | Viennale. Viennale.at. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  21. ^ Madam Butterfly | Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. Dokument-festival.com (15 May 2014). Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  22. ^ VIENNALE TRAILER 2015 – Tsai Ming-liang: XIAO KANG. viennale.at. Retrieved on 25 Oct 2015.
  23. ^ "Viennale-Trailer 2015: Xiao Kang (by Tsai Ming-Liang)" on YouTube
  24. ^ Tsai Ming-liang on Confronting Death in ‘The Deserted’ and the Future of Virtual Reality. thefilmstage.com. Retrieved on 5 Feb 2018.
  25. ^ http://www.cphdox.dk/d/film.lasso?e=1&ser=1785&s=2012003,2012012[dead link]
  26. ^ Beautiful 2012 – Film Details :: The 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival. 36.hkiff.org.hk. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  27. ^ Beautiful 2012 | CAAMFest 2013. Caamfest.com. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  28. ^ Andrade, Fábio (20 December 2013). "Walker, by Tsai Ming-Liang (Hong Kong, 2012)". Cinética. ISSN 1983-0343. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  29. ^ "BIFF 2013 Letters From The South". biff.kr. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  30. ^ "HKAFF 2013 Film Program Letters From The South". hkaff.asia. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  31. ^ "2013 TGHFF Letters From The South". goldenhorse.org.tw. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  32. ^ Beautiful 2015 – Film Details :: The 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival Archived 28 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine. 39.hkiff.org.hk. Retrieved on 28 May 2015.
  33. ^ "The 39th HKIFF collaborates once again with four international filmmakers For the Beautiful 2015 omnibus". hkiff.org.hk. Archived from the original on 28 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  34. ^ 72nd Venice International Film Festival – Out of Competition - NA RI XIAWU (AFTERNOON) Archived 7 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Labiennale.org. Retrieved on 22 Aug 2015.
  35. ^ 40th Toronto International Film Festival – Wavelengths - AFTERNOON NA RI XIA WU Archived 6 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine. tiff.net. Retrieved on 22 Aug 2015.
  36. ^ 75th Venice International Film Festival – Biennale Cinema 2018 | Ni de lian (Your Face). Labiennale.org. Retrieved on 27 October 2018.

External links[edit]