Skip to main content

THE TIME TO LIVE AND THE TIME TO DIE

Taiwan, 1985 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien

"Hou Xiaoxian's overwhelmingly moving film is at least 70% autobiographical: these are remembered scenes from his own mischievous childhood and near-delinquent adolescence, and the fact that he speaks the opening and closing voice-overs himself confirms the intimacy and candour of the memories. But this is also the story of an entire generation, the generation of Mainland Chinese who settled in Taiwan in the late 1940s and then found themselves unable to return home after the Communist victory of 1949. A story then, of displaced persons and displaced emotions, in which traditional family bonds suffer the pressures of exile and social change and begin to crack under the strain. It's a story never before told on film, and certainly never visualised in images of such measured warmth and beauty. There's no doubt that this is one of the finest Chinese movies ever made."

Tony Rayns

See also...

DAUGHTER OF THE NILE

In the last few years Hou Hsiao-hsien's films, (A Summer at Grandpa's '84, A Time to Live and a Time to Die '85 and Dust in the Wind '87) have reflected the considerable critical attention coming to ... More »

THREE TIMES

Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien is certainly one of the greatest living filmmakers - and this new masterpiece acts as undeniable proof. It tells three love stories set in different eras; The ... More »

A CITY OF SADNESS

ALL BAR ONE of Hou Hsiao-hsien's films have screened at previous Melbourne Film Festivals. This year, the Festival is proud to present Hou's most recent film, winner of the Golden Lion at last year's ... More »

GOOD MEN, GOOD WOMEN

Based on a real-life love tragedy, Good Men, Good Women continues Hou's exploration of history from the ordinary citizen's point-of-view. To this he adds his new interest, pioneered in The ... More »

cafE Lumiere

In [Cafe Lumiere] Hou Hsiao-hsien has fashioned a superb homage to Japan's master filmmaker Ozu Yasujiro, incorporating some reverent references to his 1953 [Tokyo Story]. ... [Cafe Lumiere] is a ... More »

TAIPEI STORY (PG)

“[A] quietly stunning drama which sees the various problems facing a rapidly modernised city reflected in the lives of a dozen or so subtly observed characters.” - Time OutStarring MIFF regular ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director