Time out review
In 2000, a North American poll of critics and curators named Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Abbas Kiarostami as the most important filmmakers of the ’90s, echoing acclaim that had greeted a tour of the Taiwanese director’s work. Here, his standing’s very different: he remains largely unknown.
Unlike 2004’s ‘Café Lumière’ – the first of his films released here in over a decade – this triptych film should help to change that, since the styles and concerns of each story reflect phases in Hou’s career so far. ‘A Time for Love’ is clearly autobiographical: set in 1966, it sees a young guy fall for a girl employed at a pool hall, but military service keeps him away so long, she’s moved to another job by the time he returns. The second story, ‘A Time for Freedom’, is set in 1911 and resembles a silent movie; it depicts the relationship between a Chinese activist and a courtesan. Finally, ‘A Time for Youth’, set now, concerns the desultory coming together of a photographer and a bisexual rock star. Continue reading
The story of Venezuelan revolutionary, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez
A television production in format but not form, Olivier Assayas’ ambitious Carlos spans many years and many hours in recasting the life story of Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal. With a script that hews closely to the facts of the life of Illch Ramírez Sánchez (who adopted the “Jackal” moniker once he became a revolutionary), this action-oriented drama finds its talented director in territory that he recently explored with his similarly themed, but entirely fictional, works Boarding Gate and demonlover. Just as those two movies depicted espionage as a globalized phenomenon, Calros shows the international face of terrorism. Like those movies, this globe-trotting epic has as many scenes set in anonymous airports as in identifiable cities. Even more peculiarly, though, like those genre exercises, Carlos offers a kinky combination of sex and guns that, making this more titillating and exciting than standard biopic fare. Continue reading
Description: “The acclaimed filmmaker of the masterpiece Flowers of Shanghai, Hou Hsiao-hsien has been called “the figure of the decade” by critics such as J. Hoberman and Amy Taubin, and is considered by many to be the greatest Taiwanese filmmaker of all time.
Does he consider himself a Taiwanese or a Chinese film director? Examining the questions of identity and “native land,” Hou Hsiao-hsien returns to the setting of his youth to talk to childhood friends and discuss his films. His work, like the films A Time to Live and a Time to Die (1985) and The Puppetmaster (1993), is inseparably linked with the recent history of Taiwan, and to his own evolution. Continue reading