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A Time to Live and a Time to Die (1985)

Tóngnián wangshì (original title)
| Biography, Drama | 1988 (USA)
The semi-autobiographical film on director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's childhood and adolescence, when he was growing up in Taiwan, living through the deaths of his father, mother and grandmother.

Director:

Hsiao-Hsien Hou
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8 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chia-bao Chang Chia-bao Chang
Neng Chang Neng Chang
Chih-Chen Chen Chih-Chen Chen
Han-wen Chen Han-wen Chen
Shu-Fang Chen Shu-Fang Chen
Bao-te Chiang Bao-te Chiang
Tung-hung Chou Tung-hung Chou
Ai Hsiao
Shu-Fen Hsin Shu-Fen Hsin ... Hsiao's love interest
Hsiang-Ping Hu Hsiang-Ping Hu
Tung-lai Kao Tung-lai Kao
Chung-Wen Lin Chung-Wen Lin
Kuo-bao Liu Kuo-bao Liu
Cheng-ye Lo Cheng-ye Lo
Shun-lin Lo Shun-lin Lo
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Storyline

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 <ifcplanet@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

International Film Circuit

Country:

Taiwan

Language:

Mandarin | Hakka

Release Date:

1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Time to Live and a Time to Die See more »

Filming Locations:

Taiwan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente) |

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

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User Reviews

A miraculous merging of personal and political
16 March 2002 | by mlsteinSee all my reviews

"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.


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