This movie gives us a glimpse at life in northern Taiwan. The main person is Kao, a 37-years-old man who has constantly to solve problems created by his younger brother Flat Head and his girlfriend Pretzel. As a non-stop schemer, Kao devises a plan to raise money by trading subsidized pigs to the government for cash. The ruse works, but when the temperamental Flat Head antagonizes the wrong people, the two find themselves caught up in a dangerous game of corrupt politics. –Trigon Film
Director Hou Hsiao Hsien, in a 1988 New York Film Festival World Critics Poll, was voted one of three directors who would most likely shape cinema in the coming decades. He has since become one of the most respected, influential directors working in cinema today. In spite of his international renown, his films have focused exclusively on his native Taiwan, offering finely textured human dramas that deal with the subtleties of family relationships against the backdrop of the island’s turbulent, often bloody history. All of his movies deal in some manner with questions of personal and national identity, particularly, “What does it mean to be Taiwanese?” In a country that has been colonized first by the Japanese and then by Chiang Kai-Shek’s repressive Nationalist Government, this question is pregnant with political connotations.
Hou was born to a member of the Hakka ethnic minority in southern Guangdong province in mainland China, but his parents emigrated to Kaohsiung, Taiwan… read more
In many ways a jarring canvas: Hou’s naturalism against the loud, brash textures and landscapes, lending a headiness to his fledging contemporary focus. Indeed, his mise en scene often appears a marvel for its kinetic allure, while starkly contrasting the banal routines of its deadbeat inhabitants; a bipolar complexion - one of prospectless navigating and rabbit-holes, while maintaining a glossy magnetism, yet which, as with mainland compatriot Jia’s Unknown Pleasures, paints a portrait afflicting a generation of Chinese alike.