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A key figure in the Second New Wave of Taiwanese cinema, Tsai Ming-liang made his debut in the early 1990s. His minimalist approach - rigorous and sensual - captured the experience of an entire generation around the time of the millennium who had felt lost and powerless. Always alert to new languages of expression, Tsai’s work has also become a benchmark in contemporary art, thanks to the installations and VR experiences he has presented in galleries worldwide.
Giona A. Nazzaro, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival: “The cinema of Tsai Ming-liang entails a passionate convergence of stories and languages. From the outset he has been able to capture the multiple identities of a creative pathway through the complex articulations of both Taiwanese history and his personal story as a Chinese moving between Malaysia and Taiwan. In his films, eroticism and observation join with formal research and narration to form a filmography of striking beauty, awe and wonder, in which the urban melancholy of the post-modern metropolis has been given new and nuanced portrayals. Tsai Ming-liang is a filmmaker who examines the cinema and the world with lucidity and feeling.”
Marking the career award, which will be handed to Tsai Ming-liang on the evening of 6 August in Piazza Grande, the Festival will screen one of his recent films:
Rizi (Days), Tsai Ming-liang – Taiwan, France, 2020 – presented on Sunday 6 August at the Cinema GranRex.
On 3 August, Tsai Ming-liang will also meet the Festival public in a conversation on explorations of social milieux in cinema and on the future of audiovisual media, to be held in the Forum @Spazio Cinema. This event will be moderated by Kevin B. Lee, Locarno Film Festival Professor for the Future of Cinema and the Audiovisual Arts at USI Università della Svizzera italiana, supported by Swisscom.
Completing the Festival’s overview of Tsai’s remarkable output, there will be an exceptional exhibition of his work at the Il Rivellino gallery in Locarno, with the artist himself in attendance for the opening on 5 August. The exhibition will remain open to the public throughout the Festival, featuring experimental works such as Transformation (2012); Ni de lian (Your Face, 2018) and the The Tree (2021).The Pardo alla carriera is supported by Ascona-Locarno Tourism, destination partner of the Locarno Film Festival. Previous winners of the Pardo alla carriera have included Francesco Rosi, Claude Goretta, Bruno Ganz, Claudia Cardinale, Johnnie To, Harry Belafonte, Peter-Christian Fueter, Sergio Castellitto, Víctor Erice, Marlen Khutsiev, Bulle Ogier, Mario Adorf, Jane Birkin, Fredi M. Murer, Dante Spinotti and, in 2022, Costa-Gavras.
Born in Malaysia in 1957, Tsai Ming-Liang premiered his debut feature, Qing shao nian nuo zha (Rebels of the Neon God, 1992), at the Berlinale in 1992. His sophomore film, Ai qing wan sui (Vive l’ amour, 1994), won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival while He liu (The River, 1996) won the Jury Award at Berlin, thus solidifying his status as a major filmmaker. All of his feature films so far have been selected by the top film festivals of the world while five of them have won the FIPRESCI Award. In 2009, Visage (Face) became the first film to be included in the collection of the Louvre Museum’s “Le Louvre s'offre aux cineastes”.
In recent years, Tsai has also received attention in the art world, having been invited to participate in various art exhibitions and festivals, and for putting forth such aesthetic ideas as the “Hand-sculpted Cinema” and “The removal of industrial processes from art making”. In 2012, he began his “Slow Walk” series and has since completed nine films, screened at art festivals and galleries around the world. Back in Taiwan, he actively promoted the concept of “Art Museum as Cinema” and “The Author’s Intended Way of Viewing”, introducing new film-watching modes as a way to balance the overly commercialized film market.