This austere short from Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang bridges What Time Is It There? (2001) with The Wayward Cloud (2005). In the former, a Taipei watch vendor (Lee Kang-sheng) meets a beautiful woman (Chen Shiang-chyi) on her way to Paris. The encounter inspires him to reset all the clocks in Taipei to French time. In Wayward Cloud, Kang-sheng, now acting in porn, reunites with Shiang-chyi amidst a severe water shortage. The pair reappears in The Skywalk Is Gone, but, like in the aforementioned features, they never connect. She wanders the site of the demolished overpass (or “skywalk”) where they first met. Later, he walks past her in a stairwell en route to his first audition. There’s not much to say about the story, but the style…
Tsai Ming-liang’s very postmodern films vary greatly, but they share common traits, first and foremost a disregard for commercial appeal. The director is a contemporary of Ang Lee, but Tsai’s extremely long takes, minimal dialogue, his absurdist, even avant-garde, interpretation of genre, and his themes of alienation and loss relegate him to the film festival circuit. Even then, audiences have been known to walk out during uncomfortable scenes. All of those attributes could be used to describe Skywalk, and its strangely fitting that the best way to see it is sitting alone in front of your display.