Hui guang zoumingqu   2014   Taiwan Exit
Exit Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Hsiang Chienn
Studio:Gray Wolf International Film
Writer:Hsiang Chienn
IMDb Rating:6.8 (78 votes)
Awards:2 wins & 5 nominations
Duration:94 min
Hsiang Chienn  ...  (Director)
Hsiang Chienn  ...  (Writer)
Ming Hwa Bai  ...  Ling-tzu's mother-in-law
Shiang-chyi Chen  ...  Ling-tzu
Ming-hsiang Tung  ...  Chang Shih-chun, the hospital patient
Chen-Ling Wen  ...  Ling-tzu's daughter
An-shun You  ...  Ling-tzu's brother-in-law
Alice Tsai-yi Huang  ...  Chia-chen
May Hong  ...  Co-worker
Ming-shiou Tsai  ...  Clothes company boss
Yu-Yi Lin  ...  Night-market boss
Summer Lei  ...  Composer
Hsiang Chienn  ...  Cinematographer
Howard Hsu  ...  Cinematographer
Chao-chiang Teng  ...  Editor
An-Shun Yu  ...  Ling-tzu's brother-in-law
Comments: I was reminded while watching Exit of two films I love: Ming-liang Tsai's What Time Is It There? [2001] and Yoon-ki Lee's This Charming Girl [2004]. The former because Shiang-chyi Chen stars in both of them; the latter because Chen's award winning performance, as the lonely 'protagonist' in Exit, is every bit as good as Ji-su Kim's Charming Girl. One of the opening scenes has Chen packing a grocery bag with food staples for her daughter who doesn't like her and rarely comes home. She ignores the contempt for her coming from her daughter sitting at the table. It's a wonderfully understated gut punch of a scene to start things off.

Exit almost goes beyond the "watching paint dry" velocity of Tsai's films and into "watching paint weather and rot" tempo. The cinematography is smooth and creative, almost Doyle-y: like filming someone through a plant, down the hall, reflected off a mirror. There's free form surreal blurry stuff at an important point.

That's where the good stuff ends, for me. This is misery porn. Her daughter hates her; her out-of-town husband won't accept her calls; she loses her job; her sewing machine breaks; her water stops running; the deadbolt on her front door doesn't work. On and on. And on top of that, the director gives her early onset menopause and declares that's what the film is about!

I could be okay with all that. The misery is juxtaposed to her menopausal reawakening of desire. An odd juxtaposition, but there you have it. What spoiled the film for me was the soundtrack. The reawakening is linked to and escorted by a Tango. I don't know if it was the particular piece that didn't work, or if it was the way it was used. Suggesting the latter, Chen's tango partner has a breathing problem. There's too many long scenes of listening to him whimper and breathe laboriously. All this adds up to a film that feels more assembled to annoy than grown organically.

Exit isn't meant to be a pleasant film. There's a lot to admire, but I didn't enjoy it.

Summary: Ling (Chen), a Taiwanese woman in her forties has just lost her job in a garment factory. She spends most of her time taking care of her hospital-bound mother- in-law. Her absent husband, working in Mainland China, never returns her calls and her rebellious teenage daughter pays no attention to her. Frustrated and weary, Ling is unexpectedly diagnosed with early-onset menopause after noticing her periods have stopped. Desperate to escape her mundane life, she becomes aware of an injured man with bandaged eyes in the hospital bed opposite her mother-in-law. Her increasingly intimate interactions with this stranger promise to rekindle Ling's dormant desire, leading to a series of out-of-character episodes. Flashed with moments of black humour, EXIT is a genuine portrait of a woman trapped between two generations, struggling between tradition and modern society.

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