I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

It’s three on a mattress in Tsai Ming-liang’s look at modern love

Finding a dirty mattress in the trash isn’t often seen as good luck, but it is in I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone. The film, by director Tsai Ming-liang, follows Hsiao-kang, who has been beaten and left for dead in the middle of the road. Rawang finds him and takes him home — actually just a half-built apartment building where Rawang squats with other migrant workers. Rawang looks after Hsiao-kang, bathing him and sharing his bed (really just a dirty mattress he luckily found in the trash). As Hsiao-kang recovers, the two men remain bedmates, skirting around a homoerotic relationship. Enter Chyi, a young woman taking care of a man in a coma. She’s also drawn to Hsiao-kang, and the attraction sets up a romantic triangle. No one wants to sleep alone.

But the film’s about more than the need for a bedmate. Director Tsai Ming-liang also examines immigration and the ecological crisis currently threatening Kuala Lumpur, where the film is set. Tsai, who’s known for his long, -documentary-style shots, keeps the pace slow and smooth, letting the characters and the city reveal themselves in tiny bits and pieces.

I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone is part of the Pan-Chinese Cinema Now series. Other films showing include Little Moth and Still Life. The series continues through April 6, but today’s 7 p.m. show is the only remaining screening of I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6 to $7.
Fri., March 14, 7 p.m.; Fri., March 21, 7 p.m., 2008

 
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