In this portrait of small-time hoods rendered in rhythm-of-life anecdotal detail, Gao is the leader of a circle of layabouts including his sidekick, Flathead, and their girlfriends, Pretzel and Ling. He is also the originator of petty crime schemes, which promise to get the gang nowhere fast.
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An existential documentation of the vapid and languid lives of various people outside the law in Taiwan. Subtle expressions of urban alienation and low-key long takes are what Hou Hsiao Hsien does best, and Goodbye South, Goodbye is graced thoroughly with the application of his masterful touches.
Through unmitigated realism with tinted, fleetingly voyeuristic shots filter the most unglamorized depiction of gangster life on film. Hou’s rhythm implies movement sans meaning, mundane and motorized leading merely to miles exhausted in static. Our passengers run on empty in languorous ennui, their youth depleted yet inert, stuck in neutral in a dead-ended future steered off-road and stagnant indefinitely.
This film really consists of a collection of beautifully observed everyday moments, devoting its focus to what was going on at that particular point in time. However, When the moments are put together they paint a lugubrious portrait of a good man living in the wrong place at the wrong time. So painful yet so beautiful, so typical of Hou.