What Time Is It There?
Profound concepts of ”time” and ”there” are treated with playful intelligence in What Time is it There, a marvelous work by Tsai Ming-Liang, a rare film that actually expands and deepens in the memory when its time on screen has run out. The director’s muse, Lee Kang-Sheng, plays a solitary young street vendor in Taipei whose father has recently died, and who falls in love when he sells a watch to a solitary young woman (Chen Shiang-Chyi, Lee’s costar in Tsai’s ”The River”) on her lonely way to Paris. She may no longer be in his time zone, but she is in his heart; the dead father may no longer be here on earth, but he remains, vividly, in the consciousness of his grieving widow. Tsai builds this shimmering story with deft, deadpan wit and a warm, understated love of the absurd, both in life and afterlife. A