I think this may be like the prequel to What Time Is It There? First thing a Tsai initiate will notice is the patience. Wow. Like in Jia Zhangke’s films, people just don’t seem to be in too big of a rush, and when I say people, I also mean the film itself. Maybe it’s a style thing, or maybe it’s desolation or perhaps (I wouldn’t know) that’s just how it is in some places (China? Or just the world of directors like Tsai and Jia Zhangke, where people sit and eat, and do laundry, and ride scooters, and pee). This film is just so easy to watch (even when it’s not). “Here, have some watermelon.” The post-coital scene with the orange towel “glowing” amidst tunnel-fadeout darkness [~14:00, 52:55, 57:00] recalls the visual tactics of Kobayashi’s Kwaidan. Oh yeah I said it. In fact, by the end, the young boy even reminds me a little of Hoichi from the same film, troubled, sympathetic, and real slow-walker. The shot of him riding the moped with his father holding his neck is awesome. Careful and thoughtful handling of themes like the effects of (probably societally) repressed homosexuality and its consequences-aftermath, as well as intra-family relationships in general make Todd Solondz look like a grandstander. Todd Haynes does better but unfortunately suffers under the stifling veneer of Hollywood. The other obvious (meaning even I picked up on it) theme is the limitation of traditional Eastern medicine (and by extension, values) to provide all the answers. (see Lu Xun’s short story “Medicine”) Perhaps other film commenters have more to say on Tsai’s use of mirrors?