Almost every filmmaker has had an experience of “the one that got away”: a film that didn’t get made, whether because of a lack of money, a troublesome star, or disasters on the set. The VR series Missing Pictures offers famous directors the opportunity to bring a lost project back to life in an animated virtual world. In the first edition, which was part of last year’s IDFA DocLab, Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) transported us into his dystopian vision of 1980s New York.
This second episode, about Tsai Ming-liang, the Taiwanese maestro of slow cinema, contrasts starkly with the first, in both atmosphere and style. As Tsai explains right at the start, he doesn't have a “missing picture,” but what he does have are childhood memories that would be impossible for him to film. He talks about how he grew up with his grandparents, who took him out to see two films every evening. So instead of this being a making-of of an unmade film, Tsai gives us a making-of of his entire film career.