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A Puzzling 'Face' and a Non-Story Nun Story

Observations from Day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival

Tsai Ming-liang has thrice directed films that were nominated for the Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival. Face lost out on this year's prize to Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (more on that film this weekend), but its subject matter (a loose retelling of the Salomé story) and setting (much of it was shot at the Louvre) could attract some viewers not normally game for a 140 minute art film in French and Malaysian.

If I say then that I was completely and utterly lost while watching Face, I mean that as an indictment of my own capacity to deal with non-narrative film and not of the film itself.

The program's summary makes the film out to be a little like a French-Asian Synecdoche, New York and I couldn't help thinking a little of Fellini's 8 1/2, but if you want plot summary with your subject matter description, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place.

Then again, if you are the sort of review reader who wants plot summary, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the film probably ...

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