Filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang’s Journey to the West (Xi You) adaptation is now available to watch online for one week, courtesy of the Arte television network. The film, which premiered at Berlinale in February and is set to show at Tribeca in April, follows the travels of a monk through Marseille in a meditation loosely based on the classical Chinese story by novelist Wu Cheng’en.
Berlinale provides a synopsis:
The face of an exhausted man breathing deeply, his face agitated and, nearby, the sea. A Buddhist monk walks barefoot and incredibly slowly through Marseille – so slowly, that his progress is barely perceptible and he becomes a calming influence in the midst of the town’s goings-on. Lee Kang-sheng, who features in all Tsai Ming-liang’s films, plays the monk with impressive energy. His uniform slow motion footsteps and devoted posture turn his performance into a veritable tour de force as he unswervingly makes his way from the coast to the market in Noailles, like an illusion in his bright red robe. Xi You represents another edition of the director’s series of short films that expand Lee Kang-sheng’s thirty minute slow walking performance at Taipei’s National Theatre into a ‘slow walking expedition’. Unusual, brilliantly chosen camera angles provide a collage of various districts in Marseille, creating a hypnotic space in which this meditative peregrination becomes a surprising journey of discovery.
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