From one retrospective to another, TIFF treats its audience with some of the most compelling works of great filmmakers from around the world. This time, TIFF invites everyone to watch a full retrospective of the films directed by Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien – a leading figure in Taiwan’s New Wave cinema movement. He has directed over twenty films and received 43 awards from international film festivals, including Cannes IFF, Berlinale IFF, Locarno IFF and many others. Eighteen films by the director are included in the retrospective to be shown at TIFF Bell Light Box – beginning on January 29th, 2015 and continuing till March 1st. This is an opportunity for everyone to discover the beauty, realism and more importantly – the human viewpoint through his films. The retrospective carries the loud and promising title – Good Men, Good Women: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien.
January 29, 6:30 PM
“Flowers of Shanghai” (1998) will be introduced by Richard Suchenski – Assistant Professor of Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College and curator of the travelling Hou Hsiao-hsien retrospective. He will be exploring Hou’s stylistic development and his incomparable approach to the film that talks about four elegant brothels (flower houses) in the late 19th century and the fragile stories of women, who live within those dark walls. The visual style of the film and its claustrophobic atmosphere captures and hypnotizes the viewer all the way through the end.
Starring: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Annie Shizuka Inoh, Michiko Hada, Shuan Fang, Jack Kao
January 30, 6:30 PM
“Dust in the Wind” (1987) will also be introduced by Richard Suchenski. It’s a tender and memorable film that tells about two young friends from a small town, who seemed to be destined for each other. They both move to the big city, where along with new jobs they have to face the difficulties of life, which can turn dreams into dust. This film is all about control and how not to lose it…
Starring: Shufang Chen, Lawrence Ko, Tianlu Li
January 31, 6;30 PM
“A Time to Live and a Time to Die” (1985) – the title already speaks volumes. This semi-autobiographical film follows Hou’s on-screen alter-ego Ah-hsiao (nicknamed “Ah-ha”) from 1947 to 1965. The large family consisting of the protagonist, his parents, oldest sister, numerous brothers and grandmother is cut off their cultural heritage and start a new life in post-war Taiwan. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story of a passing generation, full of authentic atmosphere. This film is to be considered one of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s masterpieces.
February 1, 3:00 PM (FREE SCREENING)
“A City of Sadness” (1989) spans over four years – from the end of the World War II to the takeover of Taiwan by the right-wing Nationalists. Hou Hsiao-hsien’s powerful and moving family saga based on the lives of four brothers has been hailed as one of the supreme masterworks of contemporary cinema.
February 4, 6:30 PM
“The Boys from Fengkuei” (1983) is considered to be the true beginning of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s career. The film tells an extraordinary story of four teenage friends from a small seaside town, who out of boredom only fight each other and cause ruckus in the town. That’s until they leave for the big city. Being one of his very early films, it is also an interesting observation of how the author’s voice and style developed. It is also said that this film is Hou’s favorite.
February 5, 6:15 PM
“Flowers of Taipei:Taiwan New Cinema” (2014) is the Toronto premiere of this important documentary about the birth of the new Taiwanese Cinema.
February 7, 5:30 PM
“Good Men, Good Women” (1995) is one of Hou’s must see films. It tells of a time of isolation and loss not only on a personal but on national level as well. Those who believe in the power of cinema must see this very emotional and multi-layered film that touches upon many aspects of Taiwan’s past and present.
February 8, 6:30 PM
“Café Lumière” (2003) is about a young woman living in Tokyo, who is doing research on a Taiwanese jazz musician from the 1930s. It’s one of those films where every scene is composed of beauty. Being made as homage to Japanese director Ozu on the occasion of commemoration of his centenary, the film remains true to Ozu’s spirit.
February 10, 6:30 PM
“Three Times” (2005). Only Hou Hsiao-hsien could direct a sensual and touching film set in three different times: 1911, 1966 and 2005 – in a time for love, a time for freedom and a time for youth… The two lead actors (Qi Shu and Chen Chang) play the main characters in each of the three stories.
February 17, 6:15 PM
“Cute Girl” (1980) preceded by “The Son’s Big Doll” is Hou’s first light-hearted screening, with his contribution to the anthology film “The Sandwich Man” (1983).
February 20, 6:30 PM
“Goodbye, South, Goodbye” (1996) provides a raw, harsh look into the aimless and moral-less underclass of Taiwan.
February 21, 6:15 PM (Free Screening)
“The Puppetmaster” (1993) through the story of Li Tienlu – Taiwanese famous puppeteer, the film shows life in Taiwan during and after the Japanese occupation between 1895 and 1945. Some episodes are reenactments of real life by the hand of the puppeteer. The film includes selections from several puppet plays and scenes from Chinese operas.
February 22, 1:00 PM
“Cheerful Wind” (1981). The two leads of Hou’s debut feature “Cute Girl” – Cantopop star Kenny Bee and pop icon Feng Fei-fei reunite in his second film – an early romantic comedy full of lush scenery, infectious pop music, good-hearted gags and amorous misunderstandings.
February 24, 6:15 PM
The screening of “Flight of the Red Balloon” (2007) is preceded by”The Electric Princess Picture House” (2007). Are there any directors who would not like to work with Juliette Binoche? Juliette Binoche stars in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s exhilarating Paris-set update of the “The Red Balloon” –the 1956 French classic by Albert Lamorisse. “The Electric Princess Picture House” is a segment from “To Each His Own Cinema” (Chacun son cinéma) commissioned on the occasion of 60th anniversary of Cannes film festival.
February 26, 6:30 PM
“A Summer at Grandpa’s” (1984) follows two children who spend an eventful summer at their grandparent’s home in the country and the face the realities of childhood.
February 27, 6:30 PM
“The Green, Green Grass of Home” (1983) is one of Hou’s commercial romantic comedies. The film follows Da-Nian, who goes to a remote village to work as a substitute teacher and finds his love.
February 28, 5:45 PM
“Daughter of the Nile” (1987) follows a young woman who tries to hold together what remains of her family.
March 1, 6;30 PM
“Millennium Mambo” (2001). There is no better way to complete Hou Hsiao-hsien’s retrospective than to show his “Millennium Mambo”, which tells a story about emptiness and is full of magnetic performances delivered by Qi Shu.