cover of book

Cruisy, Sleepy, Melancholy: Sexual Disorientation in the Films of Tsai Ming-liang
by Nicholas de Villiers
University of Minnesota Press, 2022
Paper: 978-1-5179-1318-2 | Cloth: 978-1-5179-1317-5 | eISBN: 978-1-4529-6780-6
Library of Congress Classification PN1998.3.C347D4 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.430233092


A brilliant approach to the queerness of one of Taiwan’s greatest auteurs

A critical figure in queer Sinophone cinema—and the first director ever commissioned to create a film for the permanent collection of the Louvre—Tsai Ming-liang is a major force in Taiwan cinema and global moving image art. Cruisy, Sleepy, Melancholy offers a fascinating, systematic method for analyzing the queerness of Tsai’s films.

Nicholas de Villiers argues that Tsai expands and revises the notion of queerness by engaging with the sexuality of characters who are migrants, tourists, diasporic, or otherwise displaced. Through their lack of fixed identities, these characters offer a clear challenge to the binary division between heterosexuality and homosexuality, as well as the Orientalist binary division of Asia versus the West. Ultimately, de Villiers explores how Tsai’s films help us understand queerness in terms of spatial, temporal, and sexual disorientation.

Conceiving of Tsai’s cinema as an intertextual network, Cruisy, Sleepy, Melancholy makes an important addition to scholarly work on Tsai in English. It draws on extensive interviews with the director, while also offering a complete reappraisal of Tsai’s body of work. Contributing to queer film theory and the aesthetics of displacement, Cruisy, Sleepy, Melancholy reveals striking connections between sexuality, space, and cinema.

See other books on: 1957- | Cai, Mingliang | Films | Sexual minorities in motion pictures | Taiwan
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