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Nyff Review: Tsai Ming-liang’s ‘Your Face’ is a Significant Reminder for Empathy

The prevalence of social media has lent itself to a normalization of portraiture and the gaze, which no longer seems to appreciate the immense detail of the face that had once made the cinema a special medium. Photos on Facebook or Instagram feeds and the ways with which mainstream cultures celebrate beauty have stripped excitement from the specificities of appearance–to be scrolled through quickly and absorbed aimlessly without observation. Wrinkles and quirks, expressions and latent emotions represented are never contemplated, seemingly wasted on peripheral glances. Tsai Ming-liang, in his newest feature, Your Face, conducts a simple experiment in which moving images are primed on the intricacies of the face without distraction. Setting–often easier to connect with in a modern context–is erased almost entirely, as twelve faces are situated in front of a simple black backdrop.

The film serves as a semi-extension on Andy Warhol’s famous “Screen Tests,

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