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Also Like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien

Saturday, November 15, 2014
8:30 p.m. Good Men, Good Women
Hou Hsiao-hsien (Taiwan, 1995)

New 35mm print!
Introduction / Richard Suchenski


(Haonan Haonu). Hou's third historical film explores Taiwan's period known as the White Terror, more deadly than our postwar Red Scare, and until recently, not much talked about. Hou makes a bold experiment with time-real, past, and imagined-to place his actors and audience as observers who gradually become inextricably involved in history. The film opens in the present, when a film actress, Liang Ching (Annie Shizuka Inoh), begins receiving troubling faxes indicating that someone has stolen her journal from her days as a barmaid and gangster's mistress-in her memory, halcyon days made palpable by passion. At the same time she is rehearsing her role in a historical drama about Chiang Bi-yu, who bravely joined the anti-Japanese resistance in China in the forties, only to be imprisoned as a subversive by Taiwan's Nationalist government in the fifties, giving up her child for adoption and her lover to a firing squad. If the historical past with its martyrs is black and white, the recent past vibrant with colors, what, the film asks, is the spiritual tenor of the present?

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Chu Tien-wen, inspired by Lan Po-chou's Song of the Covered Wagon. Photographed by Chen Huai-en. With Annie Shizuka Inoh, Lim Giong, Jack Kao, Vicky Wei Hsiao-hui. (108 mins, In Mandarin,Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Center for Moving Image Arts (CMIA))