Sweet Degeneration

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A plaintive sax solo blows through Lin's third feature, evoking both the romantic fecklessness of Chuen-Sheng (Lee), a young man fresh out of military service with dreams of making it as a musician, and the forlorn longing of his sister Ah Fen, unhappily married, who nurses a secret incestuous passion for him. While Chuen-Sheng steals money from his father and squanders it on roach-infested hotel rooms and cheap hookers, Ah Fen decides she can't face her life any more and runs away. In other words, there's no plot: just scenes from unfulfilled lives, acutely framed and sharply observed, which work to dissect all the ways that people can fool themselves emotionally. Lin has said that Chuen-Sheng is essentially a candid self-portrait, based on the years when he was a petty criminal and jailbird; maybe that, as much as Lee's excellent performance, explains why it all rings so true.

By: TR

Release details

Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Lin Cheng-Sheng
Screenwriter: Lin Cheng-Sheng
Cast: Lee Kang-sheng
Chen Xiangqi
Chen Shihuang
Zhang Penyu
Lin Zhilong
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