New restoration | One-week exclusive run
Don't miss the retrospective of Tsai Ming-liang's films at the Museum of the Moving Image, now through April 26.
Tsai Ming-liang’s feature debut introduces antihero Hsiao-kang (Lee Kang-sheng, who has reprised the role in nearly all of Tsai’s later works, including Stray Dogs, NYFF51), a sullen youth sharing a Taipei apartment with his mother and cabbie father who believes he’s the reincarnation of a spiteful god. Something of a low-key anarchist, Hsiao-kang impulsively drops out of his college-prep course and pockets the tuition money. Striking out on his own, he falls in with the bikers who vandalized his father’s cab (Chen Chao-jung and Jen Chang-bin) and the disaffected girl (Wang Yu-wen) who follows them around. A stark but sympathetic portrait of teenage alienation, Rebels of the Neon God reimagines Rebel Without a Cause amid a nocturnal landscape of urban decay, a Taipei bathed in the glow of arcade machines, noisy mopeds and festering back-alley sludge. A perversely funny and haunting sign of things to come in Tsai’s singular and acclaimed career, Rebels of the Neon God deserves to be counted among the most auspicious debuts of the past several decades. A Big World Pictures release.