Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of ... See full summary »
Intended as the concluding film in the trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan began with Beiqing Chengshi (1989), this film reveals the story through three levels: a film within a film as ... See full summary »
This depiction of childhood and adolescence draws heavily from the filmmaker's own boyhood. Like many of their compatriots, Hou's family moved from the mainland to Taiwan in 1948 and was unable ever to return. The film focuses on the widening generation gap in a family cut off from its cultural heritage.Written by
International Film Circuit <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"A Time to Live and a Time to Die" reads like a family saga, but it is just as much a film about the passing of traditional China and the dislocation of exile. Of course the plot points are given away; Hou isn't interested in dramatic tension and Aristotelian unities--these are so dependent on Western ideas of
personality and the separation of individual and world that they make little
sense in China. He doesn't push the events in our faces, either--they just
happen, often in the middle distance with a tree in the foreground, the way real life happens. (Remember Auden's "Musee de Beaux Arts", with Icarus plunging
in the sea far off while a ploughman works on his field?)
The space Hou gives his events and his characters doesn't give us the intimacy with people that we expect in the West. But it gives us a rich sense of the
texture of life and the things that pass among members of a family and a
community, even one that is thrown together and can just as suddenly fall
apart, as it begins to here. It's that feeling for social space, in part, that allows this film and others of his to address social and historical questions without ever losing the sharp particularity of a personal story.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this