Is Hou a great storyteller? Depends what you mean. Someone from the David Lean school would handle the saga of a family caught in history much differently. But Hou's style is perfect in sync with the story's deaf-and-mute photographer: able to perceive so much but agonizing over how to act. A beautiful and rich epic, full of so many changes in fortune that you join them in looking at it all and clinging to hope.
A film that depicts Taiwan post-WWII after having been restored to China with Japans defeat, which bode poorly for those with political differences and brought upon cultural confusion and unrest to the country. Not easy to grasp from an outsiders perspective, but a fascinating history lesson nonetheless.
Profound tale of Taivan's history is shown from the point of four brothers, their intense and dramatic lives during the shifting moments in the country. Hsiao-Hsien Hou's film gives unusual structure full of detailed views of day-to-day life, social and economic conditions, but most of all this striking poetic feeling of Taiwanese cultural identity.
Most enjoyable of the trilogy. I watched a beautiful 35mm print, enjoyed every frame of it. The film begins with an extensive written prologue accompanied by photos explaining Taiwan's post WW2 history(Nationalists vs Communists) and its effect on one family. So not tediously political but also a good history lesson. Tony Leung steals the show with a non speaking role.
One of my favourite subgenres - the individual submerged by the weight of history. HHH creates an intimate tragedy about the ways in which the political is always personal, and unrest in national stability often cause neglected (or sanctioned) casualties. I had minor issues (prob cultural) with recognising all characters/relationships, easily overlooked by gorgeous tableaux and Hou's epic vision.
Una película sobre lo decadente. Es la mirada a una familia en tiempos de la represión política. Lo que inicia como un proceso de independencia, no es más que una transcisión. Hsiao-Hsien, típico de su cine, indaga en los lazos familiares. Sus conflictos no son mas que motivados por la coyuntura, una que trae carencias, violencia y miedo. Lo mejor es la austeridad temporal. De un momento a otro son años más tarde.
Beautiful film, one with such a realistic and sweeping depiction of the most tumultuous period for Taiwan as a young nation that I felt bound to the hopes and fears of the characters. The martial law years are not a topic the grandmothers and grandfathers of Taiwan are eager to discuss-- and for this reason I feel inclined to love the film all the more, knowing the quiet sorrow in which the Taiwanese endured onward.
Hou Hsiao-hsien is a great storyteller for Taiwan who pioneered in retelling stories of some very horrific an painful events that have been a taboo topic during martial law years. Instead of portraying horror and pointing blaming fingers, he took a different approach, coherent with meditative style of his filmmaking. Hou's films are an existential lament about tragedies that people face in winds of historical changes
Slow burning detailed depiction of Taiwan after WWII through a family. Many shots are simple and unglamorous yet wonderful flowing with the calm pace of the film as time continually passes. Yet the pace and at times the lack of comprehension in the plot is irritating as history continually unfolds in the background with little detail with only familial effects depicted as minimalism is at times pushed too far.