[ REVIEW ]

INDY MOVIE REVIEW
 
Rebels of the Neon God (1992)
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Director:Tsai Ming-liang Producer:Hsu Li Kong Screenplay by:Tsai Ming-liang  Music by:Huang Shu-jun

Cinematography:Liao Pen-jung  Edited by:Wang Chi-yang Running time:106 min. Country:Taiwan Language:Mandarin Genre: drama Subtitle:English  Starring:Lee Kang-sheng - Hsiao Kang , Chen Chao-jung - Ah Tze, Jen Chang-bin - Ah Bing,
Wang Yu-wen - Ah Kuei
, Lu Yi-ching - Hsiao Kang''s mother, Tien Miao - Hsiao Kang''s father
, Taiwanese

 
 

 


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Golden Horse Film Festival 1992

Won
Golden Horse Award
Best Original Film Score
Shu-Jun Huang 
Nominated
Golden Horse Award
Best Leading Actress
Yu-Wen Wang (actress) 
Best Director
Ming-liang Tsai 
Best Original Screenplay
Ming-liang Tsai 
Best Film Editing
Chi Yang Wang 
 

Nantes Three Continents Festival 1993

Won
Gilberto Martínez Solares Award
Best First Film
Ming-liang Tsai 
Nominated
Golden Montgolfiere
Ming-liang Tsai 
 

Singapore International Film Festival 1994

Won
Special Jury Prize
Asian Feature Film
Ming-liang Tsai 
 

Tokyo International Film Festival 1993

Won
Bronze Award
Ming-liang Tsai 
Tied with Der olympische Sommer (1993).
 

Torino International Festival of Young Cinema 1993

Won
Prize of the City of Torino
Best Feature Film
Ming-liang Tsai 
 
 

Synopsis
Tsai Ming-liang emerged on the world cinema scene in 1992 with his groundbreaking first feature, REBELS OF THE NEON GOD. His debut already includes a handful of elements familiar to fans of subsequent work: a deceptively spare style often branded “minimalist”; actor Lee Kang-sheng as the silent and sullen Hsiao-kang; copious amounts of water, whether pouring from the sky or bubbling up from a clogged drain; and enough urban anomie to ensure that even the subtle humor in evidence is tinged with pathos.

The loosely structured plot involves Hsiao-kang, a despondent cram school student, who becomes obsessed with young petty thief Ah-tze, after Ah-tze smashes the rearview mirror of a taxi driven by Hsiao-kang’s father. Hsiao-kang stalks Ah-tze and his buddy Ah-ping as they hang out in the film’s iconic arcade (featuring a telling poster of James Dean on the wall) and other locales around Taipei, and ultimately takes his revenge.

REBELS OF THE NEON GOD is a remarkably impressive first film that hints at the promise of its director: a talent confirmed by Tsai’s equally stunning second feature, VIVE L’AMOUR (Golden Lion, Venice), and continuing to his most recent film, STRAY DOGS, which ranked high on many “best of” lists last year. Though showing such diverse influences as the French New Wave, Wong Kar-wai’s early films—and, yes, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE— Tsai’s film is most remarkable for introducing his startlingly unique vision to world cinema.

Film Reviews
"A near-masterpiece, and one of the most assured and accomplished debuts of the 1990s...as close as contemporary filmmaking gets to the essence of poetry." —Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Chicago Reader

"No director since Fassbinder has such insight into the lives of lost young men in crumbling inner cities as Tsai Ming-Liang delivers in this devastating first feature. Brilliantly observed...as tender as a Lou Reed elegy." —Tony Rayns, Time Out London

"One of the most quietly influential films in the world cinema of 1992... a cornerstone of the Taiwanese New Wave... would have fit in quite nicely alongside early ''90s art-house films such as Krzysztof Kieslowski’s ''Three Colors'' trilogy and Wong Kar-wai’s ''Days of Being Wild'' and ''Chungking Express''..." —G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle


Rebels of the Neon God (Mandarin: 青少年哪吒 Qingshaonian Nezha, literally Teenage Nezha) is a 1992 Taiwanese film by Tsai Ming-liang. It is his first full-length film. It tells two stories of Taipei youth. One details alienated buxiban student Hsiao Kang (Lee Kang-sheng) and his troubled interactions with his family. The other shows two petty hoods, Ah Tze and Ah Bing, along with Ah Kuei, Tze''s erstwhile girlfriend. An idle act of violence brings the two groups into collision, and an act of revenge[original research?] at the end completes the circle. It is a story of troubled youth, dissatisfaction, and the alienating effect of urban life.

Much of Rebels of the Neon God is filmed in various arcades and malls in Taipei and on the streets of the city with hand-held cameras. It is filmed in a much more naturalistic manner than some of Tsai''s later work.

The Taiwanese title refers to Nezha, a powerful child god in Chinese classical mythology who was born into a human family. Nezha is impulsive and disobedient. He tries to kill his father, but is brought under control when a Taoist immortal (Nezha''s spiritual mentor) gives the father a miniature pagoda that enables him to control his rebellious son. This resonates in the film a number of ways: Hsiao Kang''s mother believes that he is Nezha reincarnated, and Tze and Bing try to pawn off some stolen goods to an arcade proprietor named Nezha. Before the pawning of the stolen goods, Hsiao Kang vandalizes Tze''s motorcycle, including graffiti stating "Here is Nezha."








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