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CineTributes: Liao Pen Jung

It's not for nothing that many of the cinematographers featured in my July tribute series are best known for their collaborations with a specific director each. Sure, artistic partnerships like that between a director and a DP can be particularly integral to a film's quality, but it also figures that a great director is going to want to work with a great cinematographer time and again (and vice versa). So if Liao Pen Jung's best work in his 40+ years in the industry has largely been alongside Tsai Ming Liang, it's perhaps less a sign of the latter man's genius, and more a sign of the former's (in this case, alas, it's both).

Regardless, one glimpse at the above curation of that very best work and you'll know Liao's genius immediately. His dazzling neons shimmering amid infinite shadows, his probing close-ups and distancing overheads, the constant awareness aroused in the viewer of the artistic techniques being deployed in this stunning compositions, yet the equal immersion into those compositions - no-one does it quite like Liao. His contributions are always integral to his films' quality, and the quality of that work is on full display above.

Films featured

Vive l'Amour, 1994

The River, 1997

The Hole, 1998

Goodbye, Dragon Inn, 2003

The Wayward Cloud, 2005

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone, 2006

Help Me, Eros, 2007

Visage, 2009

Stray Dogs, 2013

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