Archive of films Journey to the West / Xi you

France / Taiwan
2014, 56 min

Section: Imagina
Year: 2014

A Buddhist monk moves slowly through the busy streets of Marseille. Some passersby ignore him, from others he commands attention. This contemplative picture, unabashedly influenced by Eastern philosophy, draws attention to small details that become essential to the viewing experience.


The figure of a monk appears amid the lively hubbub of Marseille’s streets, inching along almost imperceptibly through the city’s open spaces. After watching for a time, what at first seemed to be a sculptural performance artist standing in a crowd comes to life in subtle movements and appears to take an almost unnoticeable step forward. Partaking of the "snail’s pace” genre of films, Journey to the West requires viewers who are patiently willing to immerse themselves in the experience and to actively participate in it. The key to reading the film is the object of interest itself. That is to say, in order to understand the town, the monk needn’t enter into conversation, observe his surroundings, or ascertain facts. It is enough to live, to take in the moment, and to appreciate a place in order to understand it. In a picture that clearly betrays an affinity for Buddhist thought, the director challenges audiences in the same way, awakening in them a desire to look beyond the accustomed formalities of art. The film’s story comes from the successful theater play Only You, in which Tsai Ming Liang likewise directed the pace of a walking character.

About the director

Tsai Ming-liang

Tsai Ming Liang (b. 1957, Kuching, Malaysia) is a leading figure of Taiwanese cinema. He gained a footing with Rebels of the Neon God (1992) before fully establishing himself with Vive l’amour (1994), recipient of the Golden Lion at the Venice IFF. The River (1996) earned a Silver Bear at the Berlinale, while some years later The Wayward Cloud (2005) scored at the same festival. In 2009 he was approached by the Louvre to shoot a movie for their collection; the resulting Face (Visage) went on to compete at Cannes. His work is regularly presented at the most prestigious film festivals, and Karlovy Vary audiences have seen most of his movies; the director visited the festival in 2001. At last year’s Venice IFF Stray Dogs took the Grand Jury Prize. This year’s Berlinale screened his new film, Journey to the West, starring Lee Kang Sheng, an actor he has worked with since the early 1990s.


Urban Distribution International
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Tel: +33 148 704 656
Fax: +33 149 720 421
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Imagina
Director: Tsai Ming-liang
Screenplay: Tsai Ming Liang
Dir. of Photography: Antoine Heberlé
Music: Sébastien Mauro
Editor: Lei Zhen Qing
Producer: Vincent Wang
Production: House on Fire
Coproduction: Homegreen Films
Cast: Lee Kang Sheng, Denis Lavant
Contact: Urban Distribution International

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