Goodbye South Goodbye presents a beautifully delineated portrait of a generation of Taiwanese cut off from their society's traditional values. Hou records a world stuck in short-lived businesses and scams in which the characters have no real shot at economic advancement. The characters are cold, rootless, and basically corrupt. No real communication is taking place here. It reminds me of "The Wind Will Carry Us" where the cell phone represents an intrusion of western technology in a village steeped in tradition.
This film portrays the contrast between the almost feudal tradition and its hierarchy with gangsterism and corrupt business practices. Somehow, Hou transcends this feeling of entrapment and aimlessness with long takes of lyrical beauty. For example, the green filter shown when the three are riding through a tunnel in Taipei, the three riding their motorcycles up a steep hill, a moment of grace and freedom.
The camera in this film does not judge. It simply records the unfolding of events. Hou simply discloses the character of complex relationships and situations. This film, like all of HHHs films that I've seen including his new "Millennium Mambo", is pulsating with rhythm, the rhythm of a train, the rhythm of punk music, the rhythm of life.
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