Don't take my word for it, or any other for the matter. Watch it
This is mainly a very delayed and overdue rebuttal to the very absurd remarks the earlier user zetes commented about the film. And "yes" you can say I am one of 'em "fanatic" of Hou, if tat's how u term it. But i believe I admire the man for right and good reasons.
Did I mention how subjective film can be? I am glad that you've seen a few more of Hou's work before making the comments (although still very unfair) u did. And as much as Hitchcock's a God, i find your comparisons uncreditable and irrelevant. For one, the very context of the eating act is different in each of the films. Hitchcock being more suggestive towards the behaviour and mannerisms as a forewarn to the plot, while the act of eating for Hou's inward characters serves to not tell, but reveal, to us the now, the moment, to what the characters are doing, and more importantly, how they are going about it.
I must admit this is not a film for you if u're expecting to watch Strangers On A Train or Sunset Boulevard or E.T. for the matter. You don't compare Hitchcock and Hou, Tarkovsky and Spielberg, Copolla and Antonionni; let's not even go into the debate on genres...
And yes again, I admit, this is not a film if u haven't got a good 6hrs of sleep. But if lengthy takes and minimal cuts is not your style, don't start spewing stuff like "My guess is that Hou doesn't even KNOW how to make a film," I'm telling you he knows how to make films, and when I say that, I'm not talking bout Hitchcock's films, or Kiarostami' films, I'm talking bout Hou Hsiao-Hsien's films.
I think you should take a step back from all of this and watch it more in context with the culture and the times. Back to the eating scenes; Hou does have an affiliation towards eating and food, and that's something very culturally significant from where he comes from. OK, it's unfair, maybe because I've seen him speak about issues in his films in person.
I think the point is, I'm OK with u liking or disliking a film and give it whatever silly ratings u like, but i don't think u should be so objectively judgemental about it. Your review might seem analytical and meaningful at first, but upon deeper reading, "In every medium of art I have examined, I have never come upon an artist so thoroughly and purposefully unengaging as Hou Hsiao-hsien" it just shows how ignorant and silly your remarks are. Length does not mean credibility.
I am compelled to writing this comment only to neutralize the earlier one by zetes. So as to not mislead others who haven't yet the opportunity to catch this masterpiece by one of the greatest of Chinese filmmakers, in my opinion. And as subjective as I would preach it, this is probably my favourite, if not the most popular, of his works.
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