Queer frames #1: I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

Tsai Ming-Liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (Taiwan, 2006) opens the half-constructed thresholds of the Asian metropolis onto queer globalism. There’s something self-reflexive in the internal frames that replicate across this image, a series of screens that are all dark and dingy. All except the central one, where we follow the looks of two half-naked men. The image composes reflection and repetition on x and y axes, with the water that repeats across all of Tsai’s films here reflecting the screens and spaces above. There’s somehow an emptiness to the image (nothing to see, especially, an empty building) alongside a fullness (of detailed composition and lighting) that is characteristic of the film’s queerness. Some things are highly visible and perverse, where others are unspoken and imaginary.