China in the 1920's. After her father's death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each ... See full summary »
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 »
How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
As revealed in scriptwriter Chu Tien-Wen's book, the original premise of this film is the reunion of an ex-gangster (which Hou Hsiao-Hsien intended to cast Chow Yun-fat for the role) and his former lover (supposedly played by Yang Li-Hua, the top Taiwanese Opera actress in real-life) in 1970s. Hou and Chu then extended the story to involve substantial flashbacks of the calamity of the woman's family in late 1940s (where the woman was the teenage daughter of Chen Song-Yong's character). They then abandoned the former premise and instead focused on the 1940s' story. See more »
Simply one of the best films ever made and certainly the best to have come out of China, Taiwan or Hong Kong. Forget about traumatic Taiwanese history, forget about other "epic" films from mainland China, or Taiwan, or Hong Kong. This one is one of the most profound statements about human condition and the relentless power of history. You can physically feel the winds of history blowing through a small hospital in the mountains, or a house of the person who will succumb to the inevitable, or a railway car caught in the middle of a massacre. Hou Hsiao-Hsien doesn't reconstruct history, he shows you human beings caught unawares and unable to cope with a totally unexpected avalanche of events destined to change their lives. Acting is superb, the mute character played by Tony Leung Chiu Wai (who, quite prosaically, couldn't speak Hokkien and had to be made mute) will haunt you for a very long time. One of the most underrated films from one of the most underrated directors. Spend two and a half hours of your life watching this, it's worth it. 10 out of 10.
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