The Western view of Asian cinema is mainly influenced by what mostly predominates our popular culture. The majority of films with big releases over here involve horror, swordplay or kung-fu. Thankfully, this is gradually changing, with a more diverse range of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and other Asian films seeing the light of day in Europe and North America. Chienn Hsiang, best known for the cinematography of Blue Gate Crossing and 20 30 40 returns with his second film as a director, Exit.
Ling (Chen Shiang-chyi) lives an unhappy and unfulfilled life in Taiwan. She works in a textiles factory, her daughter (Chen-Ling Wen) is never at home and her husband is working in China. She’s also been left to take are of her ill mother-in-law who’s in hospital. A younger man in the bed opposite with severe eye injuries, Mr Chang’s (Easton Dong), is in obvious distress. Ling takes pity on him and begins to anonymously administer gentle care. This begins to rekindle her femininity, along with taking-up Tango as a way to escape her dreary life.
Exit is an impressive film about an abandoned woman trying to come to terms with middle age. The subtle presence and power of Hsiang Chienn’s film comes from an outstanding central performance from Chen Shiang-Chyi. Unlike the wallpaper in her flat which is constantly peeling, she’s the glue which holds Exit together. Exit its a quiet character study which promises much for both the star and director in the future.
Exit is screening at Glasgow Film Festival today and tomorrow. It will be out in UK cinemas in April.