BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

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jegharfangetmigenmyg
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#26 Post by jegharfangetmigenmyg » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:35 pm

dda1996a wrote:Well they are early works of a director finding his footing, I hardly see how this is a wrong place to start
If I'm unsure about diving into a specific director's filmography, on first watch I surely wouldn't choose a film where the given director is finding his footing. Would you say to people unfamiliar with Scorsese that Boxcar Bertha is a good place to start to get a good taste of his of his work? Speaking on my own part, I'm pretty autistic/completist when it comes to director's filmographies. I used to have all the time in the world, but now that I don't anymore, so many times I only give directors one or two chances to prove themselves. As I haven't watched any Hou film yet, I'm pretty concerned as to where to start, because I know that if I like the films that I choose, I will "have" to watch all that he has done. I finished Tsai's work a couple of years ago, and I almost through with Yang, so next up would be Hou, and I believe that The Boys of Fengkuei would be the best place to start? Then I can always watch his footnote early films when I'm done with the others.

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zedz
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#27 Post by zedz » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:46 pm

The Boys from Fengkuei is a good place to start with Hou. It's a solidly good film in his mature style. After that, he hasn't made a bad movie. If you must be completist, leave the juvenilia as a footnote at the end of your journey: those films are much more interesting for the fleeting traces (and absence of fleeting traces) they offer of his mature style than for the middling genre exercises they are in their own right.

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jegharfangetmigenmyg
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#28 Post by jegharfangetmigenmyg » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:26 pm

Thanks, zedz. That's exactly what I was planning to do, after reading up on Hou. Even though most of his filmography is only out in SD, I believe that all the DVDs are pretty watchable, apart from the hideously letterboxed and badly compressed The Puppetmaster which I guess will be the hardest one to swallow, going through his work. And again, I think you confirmed my assumption that this set is indeed an odd one, considering that none of his essential early films, other than Daughter of the Nile are currently available on English-friendly blu-ray. Even if it is aimed at buyers who are already fans of Hou, it is still a missed opportunity to spread the word about his work outside of his fanbase.

On another note, thanks for your guide to Yang's work. It has been extremely useful to read beforehand, to be prepared and enjoy the films better. I saw The Terrorizers with my friend who hadn't read anything about it, and he found it almost impossible to grasp what was going on the entire film; I, on the other hand, thought it was one of his best. We are treated with screenings of 5 of his films + In Our Time at the local cinematheque these months (all DCP's, though, apart from A Confucian Confusion and Yi Yi), and now I'm only waiting for That Day, on the Beach to arrive from Yesasia (will have to watch Mahjong online) before I can add my thoughts in the Yang thread...

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zedz
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#29 Post by zedz » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:38 pm

jegharfangetmigenmyg wrote:Thanks, zedz. That's exactly what I was planning to do, after reading up on Hou. Even though most of his filmography is only out in SD, I believe that all the DVDs are pretty watchable, apart from the hideously letterboxed and badly compressed The Puppetmaster which I guess will be the hardest one to swallow, going through his work. And again, I think you confirmed my assumption that this set is indeed an odd one, considering that none of his essential early films, other than Daughter of the Nile are currently available on English-friendly blu-ray. Even if it is aimed at buyers who are already fans of Hou, it is still a missed opportunity to spread the word about his work outside of his fanbase.

On another note, thanks for your guide to Yang's work. It has been extremely useful to read beforehand, to be prepared and enjoy the films better. I saw The Terrorizers with my friend who hadn't read anything about it, and he found it almost impossible to grasp what was going on the entire film; I, on the other hand, thought it was one of his best. We are treated with screenings of 5 of his films + In Our Time at the local cinematheque these months (all DCP's, though, apart from A Confucian Confusion and Yi Yi), and now I'm only waiting for That Day, on the Beach to arrive from Yesasia (will have to watch Mahjong online) before I can add my thoughts in the Yang thread...
I look forward to your comments. I just received That Day, on the Beach, and it's a very handsome physical object (which it should be considering the price!). Haven't looked at the disc yet.

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L.A.
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#30 Post by L.A. » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:15 pm


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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#31 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:35 am

So I just learned that Cohen released Daughter of the Nile in Region A - does anyone have the Region A rights to these three yet?

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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#32 Post by Ribs » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:44 am

Boys from Fengkuei is forthcoming from Criterion as a WCP title, but I can easily imagine them holding off for years to out it in a third set.

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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#33 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:45 pm

Ah, thanks - looking at the restoration credits I wondered if Criterion would release it imminently but didn't think it'd be in a WCP box. I was thinking of cancelling my order - lots in the kevyip right now - but reading about Boys From Fengkue convinced me I should see it sooner than later. Hou saying that the pop singers in the other two films couldn't act should be interesting as I think How directs anyone pretty well but at this early stage I guess we'll see. Udden's book on Hou - there's a second edition forthcoming that covers The Assassin although frankly I wish Bordwell would also share his thoughts on it finally - has some great information on this period of his career.

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whaleallright
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#34 Post by whaleallright » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:08 pm

I'm impressed with the transfer of Cute Girl in that it faithfully reproduces the often hideous tones and optical imperfections of Taiwanese films of that era (was the whole thing shot with a zoom lens? I suspect so). I actually kind of like this film, and appreciate its limpid, unfussy, open compositions—but boy do you ever have to squint hard to detect many of the qualities of Hou's later work, by which I really mean his work two or three years later.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#35 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:19 pm

Green Green Grass begins to approach some elements of more typical (later) early-ish HHH films. ;-)

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whaleallright
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#36 Post by whaleallright » Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:34 pm

Right, and I've defended that film elsewhere on this site; there's some stuff in it that's genuinely breathtaking, other things that are very conventional.

The Adrian Martin video essays on this set do a good job of locating the points of interest in all three films, including some of the mild tweaks of romantic-comedy convention in Cute Girl that I admit I sort of overlooked thanks to the toothache the film gave me on initial viewing.

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Luke M
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#37 Post by Luke M » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:53 pm

Was anyone else expecting a box? Pleasantly surprised this fit in a regular size case.

dda1996a
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Re: BD 188-190 Early Hou Hsiao-hsien: Three Films 1980-1983

#38 Post by dda1996a » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:22 pm

Not really but the whole packaging is beautiful!

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