Rebels of the Neon God
First feature film by Chinese-Malaysian director Tsai Ming-liang, a leading voice of Taiwan's Second New Wave. Using hand-held cameras and minimal dialogue, he offers a poignant picture of a world marked by the downside of economic growth and unbridled materialism. This is a grey world, smudgy and chillingly lit by neon light, a world from which young people have nothing to gain. Starring Lee Kang-sheng, an actor (now a director himself) with whom Tsai has ended up working together many more times since.
Hsiao Kang (Lee) is about to graduate when he decides to drop out of school. Wandering around in Taipei appeals more to him. He still lives with his parents, though they hardly talk to each other any more. One day, he runs into Ah Tze, his girlfriend Ah Kuei, and Ah Ping, a trio of petty thieves. Kang looks up to tough Tze, while also considering him a rival. Hardly noticeable but undeniably present is the homoerotic tension between the two.