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GOOD MEN, GOOD WOMEN

China, 1995 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien

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 Puppetmaster, in explor­ing different perspectives and memories of the same event by making Good Men, Good Women a film within a film.

As always in Hou's films, national history is a potent off-screen force. For 1950s lovers Chiang Bi-Yu and Chung Hao-Tung, this means the White Terror. At the height of the Cold War Tai­wan was caught up in right-wing paranoia. Despite having fought for their government in the 40s the couple cannot escape suspicion and tragic consequences. In the present day, actress Liang Ching is preparing to play Chiang Bi-Yu. She is also becoming obsessed with an ex-lover, a gangster in contemporary Taiwan's thriving underworld, and as the film progresses her fate and Chiang Bi Yu's merge inexorably.

A Buddhist revival has overtaken Taipei recently and Good Men. Good Women seems to allude to reincarnation. But as Taiwan's leading critic Peggy Chiao argues, the significance of Hou's films transcends Taiwan. "He stimulates questions about memory, truth and history and creates a whole cinematic aesthetic about how we see reality."

See also...

cafE Lumiere

Japan, 2004
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 del… More »

THREE TIMES

Taiwan, 2005
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 vigne… More »

TAIPEI STORY (PG)

Taiwan, 1985
“[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 »

THE TIME TO LIVE AND THE TIME TO DIE

Taiwan, 1985
"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 speak… More »

DAUGHTER OF THE NILE

Taiwan, 1987
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 »

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