The Deserted tells the surreal story of a man living in a ruined house in the mountains with two ghosts and a ﬁsh. Recovering from an illness and unable to communicate with the ghosts, his only companion is the lone ﬁsh who swims with him in the bathtub.
A lauded master of slow cinema, Tsai Ming-Liang chose this ﬁlm to open the retrospective that he curated in close collaboration with Festival director, Aephie Chen for the Taiwan Film Festival UK. This includes a selection of his ﬁction feature-length ﬁlms and shorts showing at the Tate Modern’s Starr Cinema from 5 – 7 April and Tsai will participate in post-screening Q&As, as well as lead a ﬁlmmaking masterclass at the Tate. This is a rare opportunity to hear him in conversation as Tsai has not been to the UK for over a decade.
The VR cinema is in partnership with Art Cinema and sponsored by HTC Vive Arts and MSI, the Festival’s virtual reality partners. The UK premiere of The Deserted will be shown in 8K resolution, which is a signiﬁcant improvement on the 4K resolution of the original world premiere at the 2017 Venice Film Festival.
The initial screening is on 3 April 2019, at a specially designed VR pop-up cinema at Asia House in central London, and will then be open to the public from 4-8 April, with seven showings a day.
Director Tsai Ming-Liang collaborated with Taiwanese architect Rain Wu to create the cinema, incorporating visual clues from the The Deserted’s ﬁlm set – a rural ruin with lush tropical nature visible through the wall punctures. High performance gaming computers from MSI and HTC’s groundbreaking VR Theatre Management System will be used to create a synchronised, immersive cinema experience where 20 people can watch the ﬁlm at the same time. This technology has inﬂuenced the design of the physical space which resembles the lobby of a cinema, typically seen as a waiting space. It represents the area in between constant reality (the outside world) and a temporal reality (the cinema screen), a Purgatory space between the living and the dead of the ﬁlm.