Highly formalized treatment of life in a dingy Chinese apartment building (although helmer Zhang Lu is Korean), “Tang Poetry” has a certain restrained appeal, at least for fans of Bressonian simplicity. There’s some sort of metaphor about SARS and modern isolation afoot in this one-set tale, which will only appear to the most austere fest programmers.
Initially, one keeps expecting something to happen between the white-shirted young man who, when not watching a poetry show on TV, keeps glowering at a black-clad woman. (She did something to make him mad, but we don’t really learn what it was.) The results are dully repetitive, although sometimes very dryly amusing, until the end, when something — a murder — finally does occur. Offscreen, of course.