FIPRESCI Prize, Cannes; Golden Hugo, Chicago
Set just prior to the start of the 21st century, this vaguely futuristic story follows two residents of a quickly crumbling building who refuse to leave their homes in spite of a virus that has forced the evacuation of the area. As rain pours down relentlessly, a single man is stuck with an unfinished plumbing job and a hole in his floor. This results in a very odd relationship with the woman who lives below him. Combining deadpan humor with an austere view of loneliness and a couple of unexpected musical numbers, Tsai Ming-Liang crafted one of the most original films of the 1990s.
"As it turns out, what might be the best film about how it feels to be alive right now was already made 22 years ago. Tsai Ming-Liang’s playful pandemic romance “The Hole” is a story of lonely hearts in quarantine, longing for love amid the day-to-day drudgery of life during lockdown. It’s a deadpan musical about seeking a friend for the end of the world, following two characters who seldom speak but fall for one another through a hole in the ceiling. I love this movie." - Sean Burns, WBUR Boston
"‘The Hole,’ for all its sorrowful prescience, does not traffic in the customary pandemic-thriller idiom of paranoia and alarm...A genius of deadpan comedy as well as a poet of urban anomie, Tsai fills his meticulously composed frames with revealing details that often double as sight gags...funny, melancholy and finally entrancing" - Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times
"‘The Hole’ proves to be an eerily prophetic and timely movie, perhaps better now than it ever was...**** (4/4 stars)"
- Jeffrey Anderson, San Francisco Examiner