The Tenants Downstairs - 樓下的房客
The most hotly anticipated Taiwanese film of the year is a lurid fantasy of wounded flesh and accursed lives that entwine and separate in a building run by a landlord (Simon Lam), who seeks to find a particular type of tenant for the property he inherits from his relatives. Driven by his desire of peeping into the darkest aspects of human nature, what he sees through the eyes of the omnipresent cameras ain’t pretty… but it gives him the wry, abject satisfaction of a dark god lording over and leering at the souls of the damned, his imagination hungering toward them. A devil-like figure, he patiently tends to the needs of a barbecue pit of deranged tenants: a gymnastics teacher with a record of domestic abuse; a shut-in college student who spends his days and nights in front of his computer screen; a sexually frustrated single father and his innocent young daughter; a mysterious ghostly girl in white; a gay couple trying to hide their relationship; and a sexy office worker who loses herself in an endless spiral of seedy love affairs. Violence and perverse desires come together in a writhing narrative based on a controversial book by writer (and previous NYAFF guest) Giddens Ko, recalling the golden age of Category III in the sweaty confines of a Taiwanese cinematic form. Presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York.
Cannes Dispatch #4: Hou & Jia