Hsiao-hsien Hou – Nanguo Zaijan, Nanguo AKA Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996)
Nick Schager (Lessons of Darkness) wrote:
Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first film set entirely in present-day Taiwan, Goodbye South, Goodbye concerns two low-level gangster brothers – easygoing Gao (Jack Kao) and impulsive Flathead (Giong Lim) – who, along with their girlfriends Pretzel (Annie Shizuka Inoh) and Ying (Kuei-Yin Hsu), navigate the rural outskirts of Taipei trying to earn enough money to open a restaurant. However, since the director is more interested in atmosphere and conveying a sense of time’s relentless progression than he is with straightforward narrative clarity, Goodbye South, Goodbye is more elliptical mood piece than traditional gangster flick. Gao and Flathead organize illegal card games, attempt to sell pigs at inflated prices, and engage in a variety of other misbegotten business ventures, all the while drinking, smoking, and coasting through life with the vague, imperceptive grogginess of men incapable of seeing the forest from the trees. Hou’s trademark long takes and fondness for gliding dolly shots – including stunning views from the front and back of moving trains, shots of the brothers driving motorcycles through the lush forest, and the image of the city as seen through a car’s green-tinted windshield – convey the hazy aimlessness and insularity of Gao and Flathead’s lives, and their indifferent detachment from the world functions as a microcosm of modern Taiwanese youth’s disconnect from their social and cultural roots. From the film’s opening scene in which Gao fails to hear a caller on his cell phone, to the closing sounds of Flathead desperately (yet vainly) attempting to garner a response from Gao, Hou brilliantly evokes the isolation of a generation hopelessly cut off from its past.
(All Movie) wrote:
After spending much of the decade making films about Taiwan’s complex and troubled history, Hou Hsiao Hsien turns his attention to its money-obsessed present with this gangster drama. Tattooed mobster, Kao (Jack Kao), and his quick-tempered, aptly named protégé, Flathead (Lim Giong), along with their girlfriends, Ying (Hsu Kuei-ying) and Pretzel (Annie Shizuka Inoh), are desperately trying to make it big. Their master plan is open a disco in Shanghai, but that scheme seems less and less likely with each call they get from their cell phone. Corrupt mainland potentates want a king’s ransom in kickbacks while Pretzel racked up a king’s ransom of debt herself at the mahjong table, prompting her to make a half-hearted suicide attempt. To make ends meet, these would-be entrepreneurs make a stab at swindling the government over swine — selling sows when they are supposed to be the more valuable studs. They wine and dine the farmers in rural backwater Chiayi only to get cut out of the deal and kidnapped by the corrupt police.
2.68GB | 1h 52m | 716×470 | mkv