Hsiao-hsien Hou

  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou & Chuang-Hsiang Tseng & Jen Wan – Er zi de da wan ou AKA The Sandwich Man (1983)

    Hsiao-hsien Hou1981-1990ArthouseChuang-Hsiang TsengDramaJen WanTaiwan

    Three vignettes from three different directors that tell stories of ordinary people during Taiwan’s Cold War period.Read More »

  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Kôhî jikô AKA Café Lumière (2003)

    Drama2001-2010ArthouseHsiao-hsien HouJapan

    Shochiku Studio of Japan commissioned several directors to create films reflecting on the themes of Ozu Yasujiro on the centenary of the director’s birth. Here we find Inoue Yoko, an apparently single young woman who is pregnant, searching for a small cafe that was often visited by a Taiwanese composer whose life she is researching. She herself is back from Taiwan and receiving help from a book store clerk, but she first has to contend with the her own reality which includes her parents.Read More »

  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Feng gui lai de ren AKA The Boys from Fengkuei (1983)

    1981-1990AsianDramaHsiao-hsien HouTaiwan

    Synopsis:
    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 Kaohsiung to look for work. They find an apartment through relatives, and Ah-Ching is attracted to the girlfriend of a neighbor. There they face the harsh realities of the big city.Read More »

  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Tóngnián wangshì AKA A Time to Live and a Time to Die (1985)

    1981-1990ArthouseDramaHsiao-hsien HouTaiwan

    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.Read More »

  • Hsiao-hsien Hou – Le voyage du ballon rouge AKA Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)

    2011-2020ArthouseDramaFranceHsiao-hsien Hou

    Flight of the Red Balloon (Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge), first part in a new series of films produced by Musée d’Orsay, tells the story of a French family as seen through the eyes of a Chinese student. The film was shot in August and September 2006 on location in Paris. This is Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first western film. It is based on the classic French short The Red Balloon directed by Albert Lamorisse. Flight of the Red Balloon is one of those movies where nothing much happens. It’s a simple, relatively peaceful film, notable in part because director Hou Hsao-Hsien is shooting outside Asia for the first time. Hou’s starting point–dictated by Paris’s Musee d’Orsay, which commissioned the film–is La Ballon Rouge, the 1956 Albert Lamorisse film about a little boy and his companion in the streets of Paris, a floating red balloon.Read More »

  • Hsiao-hsien Hou – Flowers of Shanghai AKA Hai shang hua (1998)

    1991-2000ArthouseAsianHsiao-hsien HouTaiwan

    Quote:
    Based on an 1894 novel by Han Ziyun, and starring Hong Kong film and recording star Tony Leung, Hou’s first film set outside of Taiwan takes place in the elegant brothels of late nineteenth-century Shanghai, a hermetic world with its own highly ritualized codes of behavior. It traces the destinies of the beautiful “flower girls”, whose lives depended on their ability to win, and then hold, the affections of their wealthy callers. A mesmerizing and seductive tale of sexual intrigue.Read More »

  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Lian lian feng chen aka Dust in the wind (1986)

    1981-1990DramaHsiao-hsien HouRomanceTaiwan

    Quote:
    Dust in the Wind is a remarkable film, and one which will, no doubt, reward multiple viewings. Like most of the films of Hou Hsiao Hsien, viewers will be divided into two, sharply opposed camps.

    The main characters in the film are two high-school students. The first is Wan, who – seeing his village as a dead-end career-wise, decides to leave their home town to go to Taipei to find work, intending to complete his education via night-school. His girlfriend Huen also leaves for Taipei after graduation. The other personages are family members, employers, friends and co-workers.Read More »

  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Kôhî jikô AKA Café Lumière (2003)

    2001-2010DramaHsiao-hsien HouJapan

    Quote:
    Hou’s latest film continues in a similar vein Cafe Lumiereof hermetic environment and translucently slight narrative that have come to define his later, apolitical (and largely transitional) works (beginning with The Flowers of Shanghai). Opening with the reassuringly familiar sight of the Mount Fuji Shochiku logo that can be seen at the beginning of many of Yasujiro Ozu’s films as well as a train traversing a horizon demarcated by power lines at dusk, Café Lumière then sharply diverges from Ozu’s familiar camerawork and images of Japan in the film’s inherent asymmetry, aesthetically irregular compositions, awkward angles (during the parents’ visit in Yoko’s apartment, Hou seemingly attempts an Ozu-like low angle then, faced with a troublesome, truncated image of the stepmother standing in the foreground, inexplicably pans up to reveal her face before resuming the low angle), and opaque and unengaging characters (except for Yoko’s stepmother, played by Kimiko Yo). Read More »

  • Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Feng er ti ta cai AKA Play While you Play AKA Cheerful Wind (1981)

    1981-1990ArthouseAsianHsiao-hsien HouTaiwan

    The pop-star leads from Hou’s first feature, Cute Girl, are reunited in the director’s follow-up, a brisk work of bubble-gum romance that begins to experiment with the rules of the genre. This time, Taiwanese singing sensation Feng Fei-fei plays Hsing-hui, a trendy photographer visiting a seaside village in Penghu with her successful boss/fiancé. When she happens upon a flute-playing medic blinded in an ambulance crash (Kenny Bee), sparks fly, songs are sung, and she’s left with the tough decision of who to say “I do” to. Despite the eye-rolling premise, Hou infuses the film with enough formal ingenuity (long takes, telephoto lenses, on-location shooting) that a case can be made for its auteurial significance.Read More »

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