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October 2000, Week 2


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Lang Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 8 Oct 2000 20:44:56 -0400
text/plain (76 lines)
>Secondly, I'm very impressed with the work of Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao
>Hsien, but, although many of his more recent films are touring around, they
>have not been released on video. I've seen A TIME TO LIVE AND A TIME TO DIE
>the theater). Are there other ones that should be out?

All the Hou films in Winstar's travelling exhibition will be released on
tape/DVD by Fox Lorber probably late next summer.  They haven't actually
been scheduled yet but an executive at the label did confirm the release.
There are always possibilities if you can't wait.  "Flowers of Shanghai" is
available on an import DVD from Hong Kong (or maybe Japan as I've also
heard); it's region one which means it works in North American machines but
the only drawback is that it was made from a PAL master and is therefore
slightly time-compressed.  (The subs are also a bit hard to read.)
Everything else back to "The Sandwich Man" has appeared in various formats:
 Australia's wonderful SBS channel, Taiwanese laserdisc (now OP) for "City
of Sadness," Japanese VCD for "Daughter of the Nile," broadcasts on the BBC
and ARTE; you'd have to hook up with a trader/collector for these except
that the VCDs can be ordered from several online companies.  (Assayas'
documentary on Hou called "HHH" has recently turned up on VCD as well.)
Occasionally some of these can be found in Chinese video stores but they're
not always subtitled.  And if anybody has tapes of Hou films *before* "The
Sandwich Man" please let me know.

>Also, people have recommended the work of Edward Yang (also Taiwanese), but
>I don't think anything he has is on video. Any recommendations on where/how
>to find his work?

Roughly the same answer as above.  Available in the US are "The Terrorist"
(aka "The Terrorizer" and various other spellings) but the quality isn't
too hot, and "That Day on the Beach" which I haven't seen.  I know somebody
who ordered both from Amazon but you can probably get them from Facets
(which also does rent by mail).  All Yang's other films are available from
collectors as well.

Tsai Ming-liang is another Taiwanese director worth checking out.

>Finally, BRIDE WITH THE WHITE HAIR was particularly striking in its visuals.
>Are there other movies that seem equally filled with visual fireworks? Or by
>the same director?

If you mean "Bride"'s style in general, it shares many elements of that
with other HK films, especially supernatural ones.  Try "Bride"'s sequel,
"A Chinese Ghost Story" (esp the first one but parts two and three are also
worth seeing), "Peking Opera Blues" (or other Tsui Hark films like "The
Blade" or "Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain"), "Mr. Vampire" and
"Rouge."  HK action films can be just as stylish but it's with many of
these supernatural films that you get extreme camera movements and tilts,
strange lighting effects, accelerated editing and lots of smoke to disguise
the cheap sets.  Of course if visual fireworks is what you're after, don't
pass up anything by Wong Kar-Wai.  "Fallen Angels" is my favorite but the
avant-garde martial arts "Ashes of Time" is certainly an eye-opener.
Unfortunately his weakest film "Chungking Express" is also the easiest one
to find in the US because of its release by Tarrantino's Rolling Thunder.

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