There were a few things that I found surprising about Ming-liang Tsai's entertaining film The Hole (1998). For one, it has humor and is also partially a musical-the woman living downstairs from the hole in the apartment ceiling in the film, Kuei-Mei Yang, channels a former 50s Hong Kong singing movie star Grace Chang in several musical interludes throughout the film. (Here's a taste). These songs remind me of the nostalgia for Caribbean influenced music seen in Wong Kar-wai films like Days of Being Wild and In The Mood for Love. This is in strict contrast to his previous film, The River, that was one of his bleakest. That is not to say that there isn't any alienation or misery in this film, just that there are breaks from it and the film ends on an upbeat note. But the same alienating bleak atmosphere of modern Taiwan is on full display as usual with a new caveat-a new virus is wiping people out but not before they adopt cockroach-like symptoms in the steady unstopping rain-a familiar Tsai motif. It also clocks in at a lean 95 minutes, brief for a Tsai film. It also stars his favorite collaborator, Kang-sheng Lee, as the equally isolated and alienated man upstairs who saves the woman from her despair.