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A Time to Live, a Time to Die (1985)
"Tong nien wang shi" (original title)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  1988 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,025 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 9 critic

The semi-autobiographical film on director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's childhood and adolescence, when he was growing up in Taiwan, living through the deaths of his father, mother and grandmother.

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Title: A Time to Live, a Time to Die (1985)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chia-bao Chang
Neng Chang
Chih-chen Chen
Han-wen Chen
Shu-fang Chen
Bao-te Chiang
Tung-hung Chou
Ai Hsiao
Hsiang-ping Hu
Tung-lai Kao
Chung-Wen Lin
Kuo-bao Liu
Cheng-ye Lo
Shun-lin Lo
Tse-chung Lo
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Storyline

This depiction of childhood and adolescence draws heavily from the filmmaker's own boyhood. Like many of their compatriots, Hou's family moved from the mainland to Taiwan in 1948 and was unable ever to return. The film focuses on the widening generation gap in a family cut off from its cultural heritage. Written by International Film Circuit <ifcplanet@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Time to Live and a Time to Die  »

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente) |

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is inspired by screenwriter-turned-director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's coming-of-age story. It is the second installment of Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "Coming-of-Age Trilogy" that features three prominent Taiwanese screenwriters' coming-of-age stories - the other two are _My Summer at Grandpa's (1984)_ (inspired by the childhood memories of Chu Tien-Wen) and _Dust in the Wind (1986)_ (inspired by the coming-of-age story of Wu Nien-Jen). See more »

Connections

Featured in Naamsaang-neuiseung (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

A miraculous merging of personal and political
16 March 2002 | by (Rochester, New York) – See all my reviews

"A Time to Live and a Time to Die" reads like a family saga, but it is just as much a film about the passing of traditional China and the dislocation of exile. Of course the plot points are given away; Hou isn't interested in dramatic tension and Aristotelian unities--these are so dependent on Western ideas of

personality and the separation of individual and world that they make little

sense in China. He doesn't push the events in our faces, either--they just

happen, often in the middle distance with a tree in the foreground, the way real life happens. (Remember Auden's "Musee de Beaux Arts", with Icarus plunging

in the sea far off while a ploughman works on his field?)

The space Hou gives his events and his characters doesn't give us the intimacy with people that we expect in the West. But it gives us a rich sense of the

texture of life and the things that pass among members of a family and a

community, even one that is thrown together and can just as suddenly fall

apart, as it begins to here. It's that feeling for social space, in part, that allows this film and others of his to address social and historical questions without ever losing the sharp particularity of a personal story.


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