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The Boys from Fengkuei (1983)

Feng gui lai de ren (original title)
| Drama | 1983 (Taiwan)
Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chun-fang Chang
Shih Chang
Chao P'eng-chue
Tsung-hua Tuo
Li-Yin Yang
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Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of Kaohsiung to look for work. They find an apartment through relatives, and Ah-Ching is attracted to the girlfriend of a neighbor. There they face the harsh realities of the big city. Written by Will Gilbert

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1983 (Taiwan)  »

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All the Youthful Days  »

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early hou
3 February 2004 | by (North Thailand) – See all my reviews

Although "Boys From Fengkuei," one of Hou's earliest films, shows that the director had yet to find his own distinct style ( long shots, long takes, etc that would finally solidify in the tedious "A Time to Live and a Time to Die") it is an interesting film, especially for those keen to see the early development of one of the world's major filmmakers. The story is a simple one: a group of the idle youths shoot pool, flirt with girls (the film's enduring image) and cause a general ruckus in a small seaside town. Boredom and lack of cash cause them to move to big city Kaosuing where their small-town naivete becomes apparent (they are almost immediately upon arrival ripped off in an obvious con promising a porn film screening). Eventually they move into an apartment together and the most introspective of the bunch proceeds to fall for the girlfriend of a rather shady neighbor. Although the film may come off as slight compared to the director's later, more political work, it is an interesting little piece in itself. First of all, it is one of Hou's most entertaining and heartfelt pictures: he obviously has a love for this milieu (the small-time activities of punks), having grown up in it himself, and "Boys" shows surprising humor and depth of feeling that is lost in the director's dry later formal portraits of delinquents "Goodbye South, Goodbye" and "Millenium Mambo." There is also the theme that will be revisited in the great film "Dust in the Wind": that of the migration of the rural populace to the city, and the displacement that results. "Boys" lacks the technical polish and "importance" of the later films, but it is perhaps unfairly tagged as an apprentice work (along with the beautiful "Summer at Grandpa's") even though it has all the markings of a minor classic.


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