Hou Hsiao-hsien’s 1987 Taiwanese feature is less powerful than the preceding A Time to Live and a Time to Die (showing at the Film Center Tuesday and Thursday, June 20 and 22) but much better than his subsequent Daughter of the Nile (which isn’t included in the center’s current retrospective). It follows two young lovers who move to the city (Taipei) to find work because they can’t afford to finish high school, and slowly but irrevocably their relationship is torn asunder. Hou’s feeling for the textures of everyday life, caught mainly in long takes and intricately framed deep-focus compositions, gives this unhurried but deeply affecting drama a deceptively subterranean impact that gradually rises to the surface. The very natural and, for the most part, underplayed performances by nonprofessionals are especially impressive. 109 min. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, June 9, 8:15, and Saturday, June 10, 6:00, 312-443-3737.
–Jonathan Rosenbaum… Read more »