I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Tsai Ming-Liang) 53 – Although director Tsai Ming-Liang’s nationality is generally considered to be Taiwanese,
The plot, slim as it is, has two separate strands. The first follows a homeless drifter (Tsai standby Lee Kang-sheng) who is beaten by hustlers and falls under the care of another illegal squatter. The second observes a comatose man (also played by Lee) who is cared for by a waitress. These two situations are contrasted with one another, the former a sheer act of altruism, the latter essentially performed under duress. As the film continues, the underlying sense of sadness in both plots builds, with the first culminating in a state of unrequited homosexual love and the latter resulting in a state of requited, but unwanted, passions. Tsai uses his trademark water metaphors and other visual cues such as the presence of gasmasks to extend these personal stories into a more wide-ranging portrait of a dissatisfied society. His insistence on a morose tone is appropriate, given the desperate conditions of his characters, but it is so unremitting here that it sometimes feels forced upon what is at least one half of a love story.