As if directed by the film's title, Exit, (directed by Chienn Hsiang) some viewers at the media screening made their exits early. The complaints heard were mostly about the ultra-slow pace and improbable plot but were most certainly not about the acting of the main performer, Chen Shiang-chyi.
This fine actress anchored the story of an unhappy Taiwanese woman living in a worn and grimy apartment with her daughter, who rarely comes home, and her unresponsive husband who works in another city. The woman is experiencing issues around aging and the onset of early menopause, and has an exhausting seamstress job that comes to an abrupt end.
All of this, combined with a front door that doesn’t always open, isolates her and she indulges in intense fantasies that show her deep desire for human touch. Then, during afternoon visits to her hospitalized mother-in-law, she is drawn to the suffering and moaning of the bandaged man in the bed across the room. He has no visitors, and cannot see, hear or speak but he is soothed by the woman’s anonymous caresses.
Although there is humanity at the heart of this story, the film feels awkward because of the strange form of intimacy that we see. As well, there are so many unnecessary and slow sequences that the latecomer who crawled in to the seat beside mine commented at the end of the film, "20 minutes late and I didn’t miss a thing!"
Sunday Sept 28, 2:15pm CINE
Tuesday Sept 30, 6:30pm VCT.
Buy tickets here.