Archive of films What Time Is It There? / Ni nei pien chi tien

Taiwan / France
2001, 116 min

Section: Horizons - Awarded Films
Year: 2001


Hsiao Kang makes a living on the streets of Taipei selling wristwatches. His father died some days before, and while his mother spends time praying, Hsiao Kang falls in love with a girl who bought a watch from him just before leaving for Paris. Their brief meeting allows the boy to forget about his father’s death and becomes the key to everything that happens in the film from then on. Paris is an unknown world for the girl. She can’t come to any decisions, she loses her bearings, and on a sad walk through the big city she doesn’t find anyone who is willing to help her. In the meantime, on the other side of the globe, the boy tries to bridge the distance between Paris and Taipei by setting all the clocks in town to Paris time. In this way the fates of the two characters seem mysteriously connected.

About the director

Tsai Ming-Liang (b 1957, Malaysia) moved to Taiwan to study. He graduated in drama and soon debuted as a theatre director. He began writing scripts for film and TV, and shot his first feature, Rebels of the Neon God, in 1992. His next film, Vive l’Amour (1994), took the Golden Lion at Venice, and The River (1997) won the Silver Bear at Berlin. The Hole (1998) and What Time Is It There? (2001) were presented in the competition at Cannes. Tsai Ming-Liang is known internationally as the Taiwanese Fassbinder, and at home he is a highly respected director. All his films, with the exception of the first, have been screened at Karlovy Vary.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Horizons - Awarded Films
Director: Tsai Ming Liang
Screenplay: Tsai Ming-Liang, Yang Pi-Ying
Dir. of Photography: Benoit Delhomme
Editor: Chen Sheng-Chang
Producer: Bruno Pesery
Production: Arena Films
Cast: Chen Shiang-Chyi, Lee Kang-Sheng, Lu Yi-Ching, Miao Tien, Cecilia Yip, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Chen Chao-Jung, Tsai Guei, Arthur Nauczyciel

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