Composed of three separate stories, the film vividly portrays Taiwan during the cold war period when the country developed its economy with help from the United States. It is regarded as a hallmark of Taiwanese New Cinema.
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Hou's segment is by a very long way the strongest. The other two by Chuang-Hsiang and Jen just lack any sort of dramatic flair, they exist and they are fine but that's about it. An uneven anthology that slowly decreases in quality, however it is notable as an early sign of a much more mature Hou. 3/5
Hou's segment contains many of his later preoccupations and aesthetics of his later masterworks, but it also reflects a time while Hou was still learning to deal with the constraints of his industry, before using those constraints to advance his craft.