“Tsai makes you feel there is something larger outside of the frames of his films.” – Filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul
After winning the 2013 Grand Jury Prize in Venice for Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-Liang announced his probable retirement – now as a milestone to the end of a remarkable career, comes the documentary Past Present, exploring the childhood influences that made him the precise, minimalist artist he is today.
Directed by Tsai’s friend, University lecturer Saw Tiong Guan, Past Present sees the award-winning auteur revisiting the Malaysian cinemas he frequented as a boy, where – often twice a day – he devoured everything from Shaw Brothers martial arts movies to contemporary classics. Reflecting on cinema’s past, he contrasts it with the “throwaway” present, offering a unique insight into the motivations that drove him as a filmmaker and artist.
With contributions from Tsai’s colleagues, including directors Ang Lee, Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, along with long-time collaborator Lee Kang-Sheng and Chen Shiang-Chyi, Past Present offers an invaluable portrait of one of the most celebrated Taiwanese directors of his generation.