These are the greatest films I have ever seen.
I will update as any that are worthy pass my eyes.…
Help Me, Eros
Ah Jie lost everything in the stock market due to a severe economic crisis. He spends his days in his sealed apartment, smoking joints and looking after the marijuana plants that he secretly grows in his wardrobe. In desperation, he calls a suicide helpline and gets to know Chyi, whose sweet and gentle voice causes him to fall in love with his fantasized image of her. He tries to ask her out but is repeatedly rejected. He begins projecting his fantasy of Chyi on Shin, the new girl working at the betel nut stall downstairs. Shin is always sexily dressed in order to lure male customers. Ah Jie becomes closer to her and soon the two of them sink into a world of erotic and psychedelic pleasures. At the same time, Ah Jie begins to stalk Chyi.
When Kang-sheng Lee came to direct 'Help Me, Eros' he had already played the lead in around 10 films by director Ming-liang Tsai, so it was almost inevitable that Lee would doff his cap to his mentor in his own work. And that he does. A lot.
It's difficult to sum up by way of a synopsis what occurs in this film without leaving out some very key, moving yet very amusing scenes.
Essentially the film revolves around Ah Jie (played by Lee himself) who is on the verge of breakdown following a stock market crash, leaving him stony broke & unable to pay his bills. Instead he invests all his time caring for his marijuana plants that he grows in…
An interesting and thoughtful look into depression, loneliness, and how sexual gratification can fulfill immediate needs while leaving a person ultimately unfulfilled. That the story is told through multiple experiences that skate on the edges of Taiwan's sub-cultures only makes the film more interesting. And then there is the cinematography and editing; many of the shots are filmed not only in a single take, but from a single vantage point as well. I can't say Help Me, Eros is a particularly accessible or engaging film, but there's no denying its artistic merits. Fans of Asian cinema should definitely add this film to their watchlist.
Decidedly an improvement over The Missing, Lee's debut film, this finds the actor-turned-director still in territory that should feel familiar to those who have seen his work with Tsai Ming-liang, albeit with a jauntier tempo than his mentor's work. As the title implies, one of Lee's major concerns is how lust serves to stave off urban sadness, and the theme is presented through a series of comic set pieces featuring exotic food, suicide hotlines, streetside strippers, and acrobatic intercourse. Surprisingly funny, given how depressing the subject matter appears to be, the movie would likely be seen as some kind of more approachable career breakthrough had Tsai himself made it.
Dank "Help Me, Eros" weiß ich jetzt, wie Straußen-Genitalien aussehen. Soll noch mal einer sagen, man lernt nichts im Kino.
(Man könnte Tsai Ming-liang heimlich durch Lee Kang-sheng ersetzen. Würden weltweit 5-10 Leute bemerken.)
there are some interesting shots in here but there are also a lot of way too obvious visual metaphors. it tries to depict the sexy and calm and comfortable side of depression but is too ridden with cliches to really have much of an impact at all. some moments lightly punched me in the guts but other moments cancelled those moments out.
This film is incredibly beautifully shot. Some great long takes, sometimes with camera movement, sometimes without. Overall it's a pretty good movie about depression, relationships, sex not solving everything, marijuana usage, and offers interesting glimpses into Taiwanese culture for those with no experience of it.
A movie which leans too hard on its edginess to actually be a productive critique. I will concede, however, to the considerable amount of striking visuals despite being shot on a low-fi digital format.
This is a movie that is literally about libidinal economy as its expressed in sexuality (and in the business of sex) and as it reflects the economy of stocks and bonds and perhaps about materiality -- but that may be stretching it. Having been the male lead in most of Tsai Ming-liang's films all these years and having him as his executive producer is everywhere present in Lee Kang-sheng's film, Help Me Eros. He's also the male lead in it so that there's more than a slight feeling of deja vu throughout. And he's learned well at the knee of the master. Though this film meanders around an aggressively heterosexual milieu (a love boutique filled with all kinds of hostesses…
Visually arresting, highly erotic, grossly cruel and not very good - pretty cool array of descriptors, no? Help Me Eros is about urban loneliness, and uses sex, pot and cooking to push its points. It's a beautiful film to look at, both for its lovely captures of its urban landscape as well as its near-pornographic displays of food preparation and sexual delights (the cover image is of a standing 69 between two naked actors).
Yes, that is the only reason I watched this.
It wasn't a waste of time, but it's not for the faint of heart or the easily distracted. The animal cruelty in the food scenes (and a fairly strong allusion to bestiality involving a woman and bathtub…
There's a lot to love and a lot that doesn't quite come together.
Lee Kang-sheng's 2nd feature would make a great companion piece with Reygadas's Battle in Heaven, as both are fragmentary, dreamlike narratives about lost souls, some of them overweight, who are lonely and missing love.
But Help Me Eros sometimes falters when Lee tries to explore more gaudy aesthetics in contrast to his minimalist style, quite obviously influenced by mentor, Tsai Ming-Liang.
The music montages, specifically, are so highly stylized that they feel out of place and his use of the character's marijuana addiction/dependency feels like a teenager's naive musings on the edginess and subversiveness of smoking a commonplace drug.
And as the end of the film concluded…
Help Me, Eros is the story of three people in Taiwan: Ah Jie, Shin and Chyi. They're all decent people, more good than bad, but they're all somewhat disconnected from society, despite their best efforts.
Ah Jie lost all of his money in the stock market and now lives in his sealed apartment, caring for his marijuana plants that he grows in the wardrobe and periodically selling his belongings for food and water. For some kind of connection to the world he frequently calls a suicide hotline and talks to Chyi, who he occasionally fantasizes about.
Chyi has her own problems as her husband is the chef on a cooking show and only knows how to show his love for…
These are the greatest films I have ever seen.
Preserving this list for posterity as it disappeared.
RIP Allan Fish, your film taste and writing lives on.
MAD WORLD (TIFF - Discovery 2016)
RECONSTRUCTING FAITH (Venice - Horizons 2010)
ONCE UPON A TIME PROLETARIAN: 12 TALES…