7.2/10
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The River (1997)

He liu (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 7 August 1997 (Taiwan)
Trailer
1:21 | Trailer
A young man develops severe neck pain after swimming in a polluted river; his dysfunctional parents are unable to provide any relief for him or themselves.

Director:

Ming-liang Tsai
6 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tien Miao ... Father
Kang-sheng Lee ... Hsiao-Kang
Yi-Ching Lu ... Mother (as Hsiao-Ling Lu)
Ann Hui ... Director (as Anne Hui)
Shiang-chyi Chen ... Girl
Chao-jung Chen ... Anonymous Man
Shiao-Lin Lu Shiao-Lin Lu ... Mother's lover (as Long Chang)
Kuei-Mei Yang ... Girl in Hotel
Edit

Storyline

In Taiwan, Xiao-kang, a young man in his early 20s, lives with his parents in near silence. He is plagued by severe neck pain. His father is bedeviled by water first leaking into his bedroom and then flooding the apartment; rain is incessant. Xiao-kang's mother is overcome by sexual longing for her son, sometimes making seemingly incestuous overtures. They try virtually every intervention for Xiao-kang's neck: Western medicine, a chiropractor, acupuncture, an herbal doctor, and a faith healer, Master Liu. Are the family's silent dynamics and Xiao-kang's neck pain connected? And what about the body floating in the Tamsui River: is everything dead? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Taiwan

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

7 August 1997 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

The River See more »

Filming Locations:

Taipei City, Taiwan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The director of the movie in which Xiao-Keng floats in the river is played by real-life Hong Kong director Ann Hui. See more »

Quotes

Girl: Hsiao-kang, I want to go pee. Could you turn off the lights?
[Hsiao-kang turns off the lights]
Girl: The curtains, too.
See more »

Connections

Follows Vive L'Amour (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

A Film of Shocking Power
11 May 2000 | by scr1veSee all my reviews

Although the first thing that strikes you about 'The River' is its measured pace and relaxed narrative style, you will soon feel yourself giving up the rein to this film that demands respect.

It is a film that documents social decline in the modern world, a kind of alienation and dysfunction that has become a staple of arthouse cinema, and yet treats it with such originality and audacity that it seems brand new all over again. It is the kind of film I like: the kind of film that uses 'dead time', the type pioneered by Antonioni, that establishes the film within a natural context and long takes that never disrupt the time-truth of the images, resulting in film that hardly ever manipulates or patronizes the audience. It relies instead on the understanding that the audience will accept (or possibly relish in) the films distinctly alternative themes and form. Indeed, the film has its flaws, as all films must, but I feel that it is the measured pace that will test most- don't let it! After-all, it is only 114 minutes long.

A film laced with a quite understatement that explodes towards the end in a finale that is, in my viewing experience, un-equaled in its shocking power. Recommended.


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