Ming-Liang Tsai is a Malayan movie director, now based in Taiwan. But according to him “even today, 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.” He has a great affinity to France, maybe because of his admiration for French New Wave director François Truffaut. Or maybe because his movies got to be screened in cities like Paris or Marseille with much applause. He also has has had other projects including a collaboration with the Louvre Museum in 2002 and nonetheless he was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.
‘Walker’ is an experimental art project which was part of the ‘Beautiful’ anthology film from 2012. Tsai aside with other three Asian directors (Ann Hui, Gu Changwei, Kim Tae-yong) answered the question ‘what is beauty’.
And this 25 minutes short movie shows us real on-screen beauty, but equally in a meditative way. The movie starrs the Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng (a regular in all Tsai films) as a red-robed monk in its journey through the streets of Hong Kong in a very slow pace, in contrast with the city rush. The shots are long and static, another trademark of the director, so that you can organically feel the passing of the time in every scenery and the disparity between the sacred and the mondane, the lively and intimidating metropolis with all the passers by who are watching the shooting of the film with curiosity.
‘Walker’ was included in the closing night Short Film at Cannes, Semaine de la Critique, in 2012, but make note that it was only well received in Europe, not that much in Asia. You shouldn’t put much effort in watching it, just see it as it is, sublime, at ease and, why not, funny.