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2019 Women Make Waves Film Festival Taiwan

'Midnight Tod' Portrays an Inner Rebellion Between Flashes of Light

2019/10/04 , Opinion
TNL Feature
Photo Credit: Midnight Tod / Women Make Waves Film Festival Taiwan
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By Chen Si-yu

Midnight nurtures chaos, human desires, crimes, and evil roots. Unarming one’s protective mask, midnight reveals the kind of good and evil that’s much closer to the true self.

There’s no better time than midnight to stage a wild act roaring against the world.

Midnight Tod (2019) opens with a scene of robbery and cuts immediately to Hao (Yu Shen-hung) who’s riding the bus alone. Having just been fired from the hair salon, Hao takes all his belongings and moves in with Tod (Chang Chih-han), whom he had only met once before. Tod, although annoyed at Hao’s unreasonable move, allows him to stay and the two develop an unexpected relationship.

午夜陶德_Midnight_Tod_(3)
Photo Credit: Midnight Tod / Women Make Waves Film Festival Taiwan
"If you can have sex with a dog, which breed would you choose? Husky or Golden Retriever?"

When Director Wang Yi-ling was still a film student, her short film Towards the Sun (2016) was shortlisted for Cannes Film Festival’s student competition Cinéfondation. Wang is not unfamiliar with perfecting the chemistry between two intimate characters in her previous film. She again crafts a similar duo dynamic in Midnight Tod with two main characters who have different personalities but share similar fates: The rash, rebellious Hao and the soft-spoken painter Tao are both deeply discontent with life.

The screenplay reveals both vividly different personalities and at the same time implies their slowly changing relationships: An energetic, curious husky rushes into a mild golden retriever’s home – one can only imagine the chaos. Ironically, despite being a central character, Hao’s name is never mentioned throughout the entire film; only Tod’s name is magnified in the film title and the viewer finds out its significance through gradual revelations.

“Does it make any difference?” Hao asks Tao. It’s also a question the director throws at the audience.

午夜陶德_Midnight_Tod_(1)
Photo Credit: Midnight Tod / Women Make Waves Film Festival Taiwan

What does it matter if we make love in the same bed? What does it matter if we buy a plane ticket to France today? What does it matter if we believe in a $3000 telescope that can allegedly look into the future? Hao’s matter-of-fact attitude accentuates Tao’s indecisiveness, reflecting how we confine ourselves with various boundaries.

Wang skillfully captures the love between two gay men, and yet develops and layers their interactions into something beyond love – a kind of co-dependence above friendship.

Processed in black and white, the film’s monotone highlights the shadow and loneliness on the streets at night, echoing Tod’s charcoal drawings of the midnight streets. From his black-and-white daily life to the foreign streets drawn under his pen, is Tao unconsciously drawing his desire for the future? Do we repress our true desire while living in a monotone world?


The 2019 Women Make Waves Film Festival takes place from 10/4 to 10/13 at SPOT Huashan Cinema in Taipei.

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2019 Women Make Waves Film Festival Taiwan:

The 26th Women Make Waves Film Festival (WMWFF) takes place in Taipei's SPOT Huanshan Cinema from 10/4 - 10/14 this year. Founded in 1993, WMWFF has emerged as one of the major film festivals in Taiwan, and has established itself as the biggest one dedicated to the promotion of female talents. By covering a wide range of genres, issues, and representations of women, WMWFF seeks to promote great cinematic art by female directors, and to advocate gender equality through films with a feminist consciousness from a variety of subjects.

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