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In Our Time (1982)
"Guang yin de gu shi" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  1982 (Taiwan)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 156 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

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Title: In Our Time (1982)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Sylvia Chang
Ying-chen Chang
Chi Chen
Sheng-wen Lan
Li-Chun Lee ...
(as Lichun Lee)
Kuo-Hsiu Li ...
Fatty - 3rd segment
An-ni Shih
Au Tung Sun
Vega Tsai ...
(as Tsan-De Tsai)
Duo-duo Yao
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Drama

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Release Date:

1982 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

Guang yin de gu shih  »

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Trivia

According to a TV interview of writer Hsiao Yeh(the four directors' colleague and friend), this movie's concept came from four kinds of animals. The story of first segment, 'Little Dragon Head', is created from the dinosaur. The second segment, 'Expectation', is the cat. The third segment, 'Leapfrog', is the frog. The last segment, 'Say Your Name' is the dog. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bold Experiment that kicked off Taiwanese New Cinema
26 January 2006 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

In Our Time is a portmanteau film, consisting of four films by four different directors. Along with Sandwich Man (another portmanteau film), it kicked off Taiwanese New Cinema. It represented a bold experiment in film-making, away from escapist romances and action movies - in which competition from Hong Kong was very strong - and towards a truly national cinema, socially, culturally and linguistically aware of the unique Taiwanese situation. The directors were trained in film school rather than through the studio system, and most of the actors were non-professional. This historical importance of this movie makes it hard to evaluate, therefore, purely in terms of entertainment.

The first segment, 'Little Dragon Head', was directed by Tao De Chen, and concentrated on a young boy who was picked on by his parents and his classmates. His only friend is a plastic dinosaur. One can't help but feel sorry for the boy as people and events continually conspire against him, but since the presentation is so subjective (even including a funny dream segment), is this perhaps no more a presentation of infant self-pity? The second segment, 'Expectation', was directed by the then unknown Edward Yang. It appears that his interest in telling women's stories was present from the very beginning. The main protagonist in this tale is a young adolescent girl, who lives with her older sister and widowed mother. One of her friends is a small, bespectacled boy, but when her family takes on a male student as a lodger, she becomes aware of her blossoming womanhood. This story is told with great sympathy for the main character, and is, like the first, presented subjectively through her eyes, elaborated by her imagination.

The third segment, by Ko I-Cheng (Ke Yizheng), takes place in college. The main character is a lively fellow, called 'Fatty' in jest, who spends his time exercising and working as a driver for women who have use of their husbands' cars, but cannot drive. Like the protagonists of the earlier tales, he too seems caught between hopes and dreams, and less promising reality.

The last segment, by Zhang Yi, was also the shortest. 'Say Your Name' is an amusing comedy about a young couple who have just moved into a new apartment in Taipei. Their neighbours seem to assume that anyone they don't know must be a thief, which makes things even more complicated.

There is a definite progression through the four films, in time (from the fifties to the eighties) and in the age of the protagonists (from early primary school to young, working adults). Though the four stories were essentially short films, characterisation was achieved quite well in all of them, at least for the main characters. The young non-actors did well in roles that required them to be themselves rather than impersonate someone else.

Also, the social context of the films is impossible to ignore. Along with the usual problems of growing up, there is also poverty and alienation, also music and traffic jams. Movies had suddenly become art and social commentary, rather than simple entertainment. These are the great strengths of this film. It is a triumph of youth over experience, energetic engagement over complacent distraction.

Having become accustomed to the New Taiwanese style of film-making, it is difficult to appreciate just what a breath of fresh air this film (and Sandwich Man) must have been at the time. Even in sections where production seems a little 'rough around the edges,' this is compensated for by ideas and inventiveness, by the sheer audacity of the experiment.


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