After a seven year hiatus, acclaimed Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang returns to the silver screen with Days. The film is primarily an exploration on the impact of moving images; in which Tsai purposefully eradicates any form of subtitles. Whatever is spoken in the film is purely interpreted by the power of action, where the audience is forced to carefully observe the minuscule mannerisms and elongated shot compositions featured in the film. Though Days is much more than some intriguing filmmaking experience. It’s an erotic piece of pensive escapism; a film about the human condition of yearning and love.
The film is self contained with lush colours and bright cityscapes, as we follow two closeted men. The audience doesn’t really know much in regards to the personal backgrounds of these two lead characters. However, the point that Tsai is trying to convey is a feeling of passion. Tiny actions that stack up upon each other until the film’s breaking point; where we finally encounter our two protagonists together, solemnly in love. Everything is momentary, and sometimes the fleeting moments of life come hurtling at us at an undefinable rate. The narrative backbone of the romance may be a little slight, though as a piece of confident filmmaking, Ming-liang makes a determined return to the camera after nearly a decade. Love is what connects all of us, and Days is further proof that cinema can piece together a broken heart back into one.
Days is now available to stream at this year’s 56th Chicago International Film Festival as part of the Masters and Out-Look Competition programs.