(Rivire, 1999, p 81) As he moved to Taiwan at the age of 20 years and chose film direction as profession his filmmaking style-both in terms of the plots and portrayal of characters-largely reflected the sense of alienation experienced by him in youth days as emigrants in Malaysia and the initial and subsequent impressions about the microcosmic and paced worlds of large urban centers rushing headlong toward emotionless and cruel uniformity. Reality probing was a favorite with Tsai from these early years. "I think European films are closer to me because they are about modern life and ordinary, modern men," Tsai told Nanouk Leopold. "And I have the idea they are more realistic, true to life." (Nanouk, 2002) Tsai began with TV dramas (1989-'91) and went to make a TV documentary, about AIDS (My New Friends, 1995), and some features, notable and well known among them being: Rebels of the Neon God (1992), Vive l'Amour (1994), The River (1996), and The Hole (1998). All of these features are set in backdrop of modern day Taipei and have remarkable branding with the primary issue of metropolitan loneliness and isolation. These exceptional and highly critically acclaimed films whose constant refrain reverberate with the reality of emptiness and nothingness in today's urban lives as central theme, invariably leave characters isolated in lonely madness pursuing routine without making much meaning of the numerous developments happening around them in fast paced metropolitan worlds. His above films set in clearly that the protagonists are mesmerised and confused by half grafted Western values in the pursuit of a modern capitalist lives, in fast paced transformation facing their societies which are now torn with occidental and oriental contradictions. The apparent conflicts between age-old Eastern values and traditions and the fast paced West aping civilization and the telling impact of such conflicts on urban dweller of today in term of heightening alienation has been portrayed with startling clarity in these films. This paper examines in detail the sense of alienation portrayed in the above mentioned films of Tsai Ming-liang's.
Alienation in The Hole
The Hole catches action in the events that are supposed to have taken place in penultimate days of the year 1999, when an unexplained and mysterious end-of-the-millennium virus affliction with which causes people to behave like cockroaches has compelled the government to quarantine (and stop servicing) large sections of Taipei metropolis. Two characters - played by Lee Kang-sheng and Yang Kuei-mei - live in one apartment complex on flats located on successive floors, and a plumber's fault instead on mending a leak results in a gaping hole between the flats which is the main cause of concern and distress for theses two central actors. The film's landscape is writ with urban desolation and commences in a ramshackle movie theater exhibiting a non decrepit show with little attendance. The backdrop is equally desolate in that it is night and raining hard with not a soul on deserted streets of Taipei. All these i.e... the