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The River + Introduction
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The River 河流, dir. Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan 1997, 114 min.

In director Tsai Ming-Liang's shockingly subversive family drama, Hsiao-Kang gets roped into participating in a film shoot, in which he plays a dead body floating in the Tamsui River in Taipei. But the polluted, dirty water provokes a health crisis, as Hsiao-Kang is suddenly struck by debilitating neck pain. His concerned parents attempt various ways of alleviating his discomfort, but to no avail and soon, the son’s misery causes the troubled family unit to further disintegrate.

Unveiling domestic secrets and repressed emotions, this uncomfortable work of slow cinema offers a sly, queer critique of the nuclear family and the values it represents. Shot in Tsai’s signature minimalist style and starring his muse Lee Kang-Sheng, this controversial work repelled some audiences and confirmed the director’s place as a uniquely rebellious voice in queer cinema.

The screening will be preceded by an introduction from Professor Chris Berry, King’s College London.
Queer East is a cross-disciplinary festival that showcases boundary-pushing LGBTQ+ cinema, live arts, and moving image work from East and Southeast Asia and its diaspora communities. Its fifth edition runs from 17 to 28 April in venues across London, exploring notions of what it means to be queer and Asian today.
06:00 pm
Sat, 20 Apr 2024
Cinema 1

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated, and start with a 10 min. curated selection of trailers.

Red Members gain unlimited access to all exhibitions, films, talks, performances and Cinema 3.
Join today for £20/month.