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Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
7:00 p.m. The Boys from Fengkuei
Hou Hsiao-hsien (Taiwan, 1983)

(Feng guilai de ren, a.k.a. All the Youthful Days). Hou Hsiao-hsien’s fourth feature is strikingly emblematic of the shift (in Taiwanese cinema) towards greater naturalism and subjects dealing with youth and provincial life. The film follows the fortunes of a trio of bored teenagers who move from the small island of Fengkuei to the port of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, showing with sympathy and quiet humor a whole social stratum dispossessed of the Taiwanese economic dream and wandering aimlessly without a clear sense of purpose. Chen Kuo-hou’s striking camerawork stresses the desolate beauty of the youths’ Fengkuei existence and the more intense (but less secure) life of bustling Kaohsiung. The Baroque soundtrack...perfectly underpins the picture’s involving style, aided by a central trio of performances which mingle exuberance and naturalism in equal measure.

—Derek Elley, London Film Festival.

• Written by Chu Tien-wen. Photographed by Chen Kun-hou. With Doze Niu (Cheng-tse), Lin Hsiu-ling, To Tsung-hua. (99 mins, In Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm)