Days (2020)

A docu-fiction that may not be as fully-formed as Tsai’s previous films, but still feels somewhat rewarding if you surrender to its modulated slow cinema style.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review #1,910

Dir. Tsai Ming-liang
2020 | Taiwan | Drama | 127 mins | 1.78:1 | No dialogue
R21 (passed clean) for sexual scene

Cast: Lee Kang-sheng, Anong Houngheuangsy
Plot: Kang lives alone in a big house while Non stays in a small apartment in town. They meet, and then part, their days flowing on as before.
Awards: Won Teddy Award – Special Mention & Nom. for Golden Bear (Berlin)
International Sales: Homegreen Films

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Slightly Mature – LGBT, Existential
Narrative Style: Straightforward – Elliptical
Pace: Very Slow
Audience Type: General Arthouse

Viewed: Screener
Spoilers: No

Is it right to call Days a docu-fiction?  Maybe. 

But in Tsai Ming-liang’s latest feature film, he blurs that thin line between fiction and reality to an even greater extent as his camera captures his two actors—one (Lee Kang-sheng) very familiar to those who have been surveying Tsai’s works over the decades, and the other (Anong Houngheuangsy), a new face who might soon be familiar if rumours of a sequel to Days do come to fruition. 

On this note, one might see Days as a spiritual sequel to the even earlier and more fully-formed I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (2006).  With a Golden Bear competition slot at Berlin, one might accord some seriousness to Tsai’s work here, though I personally find this to be a minor film of his. 

Running at two hours, which feels all of its length as Tsai’s modulated slow cinema style takes center stage again. Made up of only a handful of shots, some flowing for more than 20 minutes without any cuts, Days could be Tsai’s most austere film to date. 

But it also seemingly suggests a new phase for his filmmaking, relying on low-fi digital cameras and what seems like a shoestring budget to continue innovating artistically, including intentionally having no subtitles in what is a largely dialogue-free film.  The anti-Tsai brigade will certainly be repelled by this, but those fully converted already will find it somewhat rewarding. 

Days is a tale of two men whose days of loneliness and isolation are so stifling that when they meet in a hotel room in a centrepiece 20-plus minute erotic massage, they find a rare connection undergirding the physical intimacy. 

Some of the most poetic moments in the film come in the form of Chaplin’s music for ‘Limelight’ as produced by a music box, incidentally also reproduced in I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone in a song sung by the great Li Xianglan, forging some kind of cosmic interconnectedness.    

Grade: B



  1. hi! i’d really love to see this film, even more so now after reading your critique. would you know any possible site or way for me to view it? 😦

    Liked by 1 person


    1. hi Sandy, are you also a Tsai Ming-liang fan? I think the film is not made legally available online yet – the distributor may be exploring various options at present. Hopefully you get to see it soon!



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