Meeting “Meeting Dr Sun”

There are some interesting things going on in Yee Chih-yen’s long-awaited Taiwanese film MEETING DR SUN(行動代號孫中山). Every line repeats, at least once: it’s like listening to a Domenico Scarlatti sonata (likewise built on relentless, sometimes infuriatingly mechanical repeats). If it were a sonata, it would be one in which the 1st theme and the 2nd theme were essentially the same, and the drama (development) consists in each theme discovering itself in its putative rival/opposite.

So what does that make the film? A study of doubling. A Lacanian mirror-stage myth narrative? A gay coming-of-age fable? A tale of working class solidarity? All of these things, I think. But what’s fascinating about the film is that it knows these four things are essentially the same thing, and it builds that into the dialogue, the shots, and the oddly stuttering, laid-back, non-rhythmical rhythms of the piece. If it doesn’t manage to pull it off, at least it doesn’t shy away from burying complexity inside an ostensibly populist youth flic.