恋恋风尘 | Dust in the Wind

Dust in the Wind

Master filmmaker Hou Hsiao Hsien directs this wistful story about lost love and lost innocence among Taiwan’s working class. Wan (Wang Chien-wen) and Huen (Hsin Shu-feng) are high school sweethearts living in a down-and-out mining community of Jio-fen in Taiwan’s backwaters. Too poor to continue their education, the two drop out of school and move to Taipei to find employment. When Wan’s father learns of his son’s decision, he simply says, “When you are willing to make yourself an ox, there will always be someone with a plow.” Huen finds work as a seamstress. Wan becomes a printer’s assistant and then a motorcycle delivery boy. The time passes as they work all day, pursue their studies at night school, and spend their scant free time drinking with their friends ? all working similarly menial jobs. One friend is beaten with an iron bar by his abusive boss; another has his finger chopped off in a machine. One by one, these friends are called up for their obligatory two years of military service. One day, while taking Huen shoe shopping, Wan has his bike stolen. Furious and out of a job, Wan wanders around the streets of Taipei until he contracts bronchitis. Huen lovingly nurses him back to health. Then he gets called up for military service.

Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou | Starring : Shufang Chen, Lawrence Ko, Tianli Lu, Fang Mei, Lai-Yin Yang | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival

童年往事 | A Time to Live, a Time to Die

A Time to Live and a Time to Die

Hou Xiaoxian’s overwhelmingly moving film is at least 70% autobiographical: these are remembered scenes from his own mischievous childhood and near-delinquent adolescence, and the fact that he speaks the opening and closing voice-overs himself confirms the intimacy and candour of the memories. But this is also the story of an entire generation, the generation of Mainland Chinese who settled in Taiwan in the late 1940s and then found themselves unable to return home after the Communist victory of 1949. A story then, of displaced persons and displaced emotions, in which traditional family bonds suffer the pressures of exile and social change and begin to crack under the strain. It’s a story never before told on film, and certainly never visualised in images of such measured warmth and beauty.

Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou | Starring : Feng Tien, Fang Mei, Ru-Yun Tang, Ai Hsiao, Ann-Shuin Yiu | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Buenos Aires Film Festival, Thessaloniki Film Festival