Intended as the concluding film in the trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan began with Beiqing Chengshi (1989), this film reveals the story through three levels: a film within a film as ... See full summary »
Taipei. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2000, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao. She's young, lovely, and aimless. He's a slacker. Cigarettes and ... See full summary »
In Shanghai in the 1880s there are four elegant brothels (flower houses): each has an auntie (called madam), a courtesan in her prime, older servants, and maturing girls in training. The ... See full summary »
Tony Chiu Wai Leung,
In the first half of this century, young Li Tienlu joines a travelling puppet theatre and subsequently makes a career as one of Taiwan's leading puppeteers. During World War II the Japanese... See full summary »
Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of ... See full summary »
A-yuan and A-yun are both from the small mining town of Jio-fen. In the city, A-yuan is an apprentice by day and goes to night school, and A-yun works as a helper at a tailors. Everyone ... See full summary »
The film was first conceived as a three-part anthology film, each segment directed by a different person, to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Japanese director Yasujirô Ozu. However, the other two directors dropped out before filming started, and Hou decided to make the entire film himself. See more »
Hou Hsiao-hsien's previous film, "Millennium Mambo," was filled with pulsating colors and rhythms - "Cafe Lumiere," on the other hand, offers us classical piano music, bookshops, and trains... lots of trains.
To me, the plot, and in some way the characters, seemed very fluid - you never knew where the film was leading you, and (as in many of Hou's films) it's left up to you to form your own opinion about the characters.
"Cafe Lumiere" is a very languid, soothing film, filled with marvelous images and memorable vignettes. It is not a good place for a newcomer to Hou's films to start (try "Mambo" for that), and not a good film for the impatient. However, if you approach it in the right frame of mind, you will find yourself somehow transported into another person's life for a couple of hours, and come out with the film rattling around your subconscious for days afterward.
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