The film focuses on three city folks who unknowingly share the same apartment: Mei, a real estate agent who uses it for her sexual affairs; Ah-jung, her current lover; and Hsiao-ang, who's ... See full summary »
Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a ... See full summary »
Defying his parents, Hsiao Kang drops out of the local crammer to head for the bright lights of downtown Taipei. He falls in with Ah Tze, a pretty hood and their relationships is a confused... See full summary »
When a young street vendor with a grim home life meets a woman on her way to Paris, they forge an instant connection. He changes all the clocks in Taipei to French time; as he watches ... See full summary »
A-yuan and A-yun are both from the small mining town of Jio-fen. In the city, A-yuan is an apprentice by day and goes to night school, and A-yun works as a helper at a tailors. Everyone ... See full summary »
Based from true story, primarily a conflict between two youth gangs, 14-year-old young boy's girlfriend conflict with the head of the gang for unclear reason, until finally there was a painfully incident.
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 »
Three short films that kicked off Taiwanese New Wave
This omnibus film, consisting of three 35 minute shorts, is considered
along with 'In Our Time' - the beginning of the New Wave of Taiwanese
cinema. All three of the short films are based on stories by Huang Chun-ming about 1960s Taiwan.
The collection takes its name from the first of the three (in Chinese the title is 'The Son's Big Doll'), by Hou Hsiao Hsien . It is a tale of a 'Sandwich Man', who dresses as a clown and carries placards back and front advertising films for a local cinema. Using many flashbacks, this is a real slice-of-life piece from Hou with many of the techniques and the same appeal as his longer films. (Incidentally, one of the posters he carries advertises 'Oyster Girl', itself an important Taiwanese film, praised for its 'healthy realism'.) The second film is 'Vicki's Hat', directed by Wan Jen, tells a story of two itinerant salesmen trying to sell cheap Japanese rice cookers in a small coastal town. The 'Vicki' of the title is a young local girl who always wears a hat, stirring the curiosity of one of the salesmen, while the other is determined to make sales so as to return to his pregnant wife with head held high. Flashbacks are used to give more background to the salesmen's training and personal situations.
The third film, 'The Taste of Apples' by Zhuang Xiang Zeng, is more humorous, and tells of a worker who is run over by an American colonel and then taken to an American military hospital. His large family visit him there, where they are informed of the generous compensation they are due to receive. Moving to the city was perhaps not such a bad idea after all, especially if you are lucky enough to be run down by an American officer! The acting is very naturalistic in the first two films, and a little more melodramatic in the third, according well with its lighter, amusing tone. All three films use numerous flashbacks, no doubt as a way to give background detail quickly while showing how it relates to the present situations of the characters.
The state of Taiwanese society at the time is clearly visible in all three stories, and they are fascinating for this alone. This is clearly a deliberate break away from escapist action or romances, and it is easy to see how Sandwich Man would become of such importance for the development of Taiwanese film. For this reason, it is also a hard film to rate exactly. In terms of cultural significance, it is indispensable. Its entertainment value is also quite high, for the stories are all well presented, though I would recommend it most for people already familiar with the works of Hou Hsiao Hsien and other 'New Wave' directors, and who can appreciate the quiet, cumulative power of such films, whether long, or in this case, short.
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