Thanatos, Drunk opens with a quote from the Tang dynasty poet, Li Bai. Extolling inebriation, he invites us to make the most of earthly pleasures, reminding us that life is slipping through our fingers. It comes as no surprise therefore that the first character to appear is a woman in her fifties tottering under the effects of alcohol. But her drunkenness is maudlin and, for her, time past is a testament to her failure. Clinging to her two sons, all she can do is smother them with her intense maternal anxiety. Did she drive her elder son, Shanghe, from home to venture his luck in America with his boyfriend? Whatever her intentions, the only response she proposes to the many questions that her younger son Rat is asking himself is to take refuge in a dulling of the senses.
Chang Tso-Chi plunges us into an obscure night-time landscape somewhere on the outskirts of Taipei, which the characters vainly struggle to make their own. The interiors are coloured but gloomy, and we sometimes enter through the window, as if through the hatch of a cage. And when these nocturnal animals dare set foot outside, it is to contemplate a cloudy horizon.