Days, dir. Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan 2020, 127 min.
A middle-aged man suffering from chronic pain hires a young male masseur: two figures meet, share a moment together and then separate. The older man is played by the magnetic Lee Kang-Sheng, without whom Tsai has never made a film in his three-decade career. Lee once again embodies a type of solitude that is never tragic yet allows one to engage with the passage of time in all its painstaking richness. Tsai’s meticulous framing celebrates the quiet actions (shredding a cucumber, oiling a body) which narrative cinema often considers too prosaic to matter. Here minimalism is manifested as a deliberate political act which invites us to see cinema. In doing so, Days slowly materialises Tsai’s particular vision of filmic realism.