Hou Hsiao-hsien

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hearthesilence
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#276 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:42 pm

Mark Lee Ping Bin gave a talk yesterday, the highlight of the ongoing retrospective of his work at MoMA, and they showed clips of his work, straight from the prints and DCP's obtained for the retrospective.

Before the talk there was a screening of Dust in the Wind on 35mm, and when they showed the final two shots for the talk, he said the print, like Flowers of Shanghai, was also too bright, but he said it may have been the age of the film elements at fault. Regardless, the print also had a Bard logo at the beginning, just like the Flowers of Shanghai print - I'm guessing the upcoming screening of The Puppetmaster will be using a print from the same collection, and possibly will look too bright as well, but regardless, at least it'll be a chance to see it in widescreen as the DVD severely cropped it to 1.33:1.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#277 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:39 pm

The Puppetmaster print we saw during the Retro last year looked infinitely betterthna the crappy old DVD -- it was almost like watching a different movie entirely.

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ca_jas
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#278 Post by ca_jas » Mon Jun 20, 2016 4:55 am

Jeez, as a new face here, seeing the list of his films in on the first page made me realize I have more to learn about than anything to say. At the time before I moved to China I only had access to purchasing two films from Hou (in the US): Millennium Mambo and Cafe Lumiere. Cafe Lumiere was a great movie for my taste, basically nothing happened but I still felt engaged. And it helped to have Tadanobu Asano on the cast as (although I'm a straight-male) he is one of my man-crushes. I plan on giving Millennium Mambo another shot but the one time I watched it just didn't click for me so I'm more tempted to browse the rest of his catalogue and come back to that one later. I'm assuming that I can find some digital purchase options to some of these films.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#279 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:42 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:The Puppetmaster print we saw during the Retro last year looked infinitely betterthna the crappy old DVD -- it was almost like watching a different movie entirely.
You were absolutely right about this. The compositions alone are glorious, and it's painful to peruse any screencaps taken from the DVD, because you can see how much is lopped off.

This is especially true of the vista long shots, which seem to be meticulously filled from one side to the next, and any of the performance sequences (the Chinese opera, all of the upper performances) which are so carefully framed in relation to audience perspective. For example, the Chinese opera scene is made up of two long takes - seeing the first in a theater is incredibly evocative of seeing an actual stage production in front of you, right where the film screen is located. The opera in the film and the film you're watching in real life are now perfectly fused together, and you have the sensation of being in the actual audience for the opera. Much of this feeling is lost in the pan-and-scan version.

Eventually this first shot cuts to the second shot, which is filmed in the same direction, but the camera is backed up so that you're now observing the audience and what's going on behind their back. There are political implications with this second shot that will become clear when you watch the film, one that's all the more cutting (pun not intended) in the way it uses these two particular shots back-to-back.

FWIW, this could very well be a dupe of the print that toured before - like the others in the past week, it has the Bard logo, the print is fairly worn around the reel changes, and the blacks don't look quite as inky as they should, but the detail and the color still look quite good.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#280 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:36 pm

Millennium Mambo is my favorite HHH film (admittedly a somewhat arbitrary pick from the many wonderful films he has made).

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whaleallright
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#281 Post by whaleallright » Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:33 pm

FWIW, this could very well be a dupe of the print that toured before
According to Richard Suchenski, and as discussed higher up in this thread, there's only one English-subtitled print of the film in existence, which dates to the 1990s. So it's highly likely we're talking about the very same print the rest of us saw last year, or a dupe of that print. (HHH's company has the film's negative, but can't do much with it until rights issues are clarified.)

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jguitar
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#282 Post by jguitar » Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:02 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Millennium Mambo is my favorite HHH film (admittedly a somewhat arbitrary pick from the many wonderful films he has made).
Although our tastes (based on the evidence of the forum) usually align quite closely, this is always the one that surprises me. Although I feel MM has some beautiful moments, it doesn't cohere for me -- and more fundamentally, I find it difficult to care about any of the characters. I've come to feel that City of Sadness is the greatest film made during my lifetime (born in the early 60s); and The Puppetmaster, The Flowers of Shanghai, The Boys From Fengkuei, A Summer at Grandpa's, A Time to Live and a Time to Die, and Dust in the Wind are all films I feel I couldn't live without.

Regarding City of Sadness, no other film gains so much from repeated viewings for me. Also, the more I've learned about Taiwanese history and culture, the richer the film becomes. But none of that would matter if it wasn't for the fact that, as a story and an aesthetic experience, it fully involved my intellect and my heart from the first viewing, even if I didn't get everything at first. But whenever I see you post about MM, Michael, I think -- I'm going to watch it again to see what I'm missing! Some day it will click for me, perhaps . . .

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#283 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:52 pm

You have to realize that I love pretty much every bit of HHH's work... (the last part of Three Times is still iffy for me, however).

I was blown away by the opening of MM, and didn't have any trouble feeling sympathy for the heroine. Not willing to say that MM is "the greatest" ... just that I love it the most (although it just barely edges out Dust). I wait impatiently for a home video version of CoS -- as I agree it is immensely impressive (and moving).

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Trees
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#284 Post by Trees » Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:44 pm

To me, Millennium Mambo is an underrated film. I love it.

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chiendent
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#285 Post by chiendent » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:53 pm

I can't say I love Millennium Mambo but I definitely need to rewatch it, preferably in a theatre. Between the PFA and UCLA screenings I got to watch a good chunk of his filmography but couldn't make them all, so there are a few big ones I missed (including this, Dust in the Wind, and Boys from Fengkuei). I ended up seeing it on a laptop screen since my girlfriend wanted to catch it while it was still streaming on Mubi, so between the small screen and my half-asleep state I'm not too confident in my judgment of it. Still, I found myself preferring Daughter of the Nile.

As far as my favorites go, it might be Flowers of Shanghai, which was actually the first HHH film I saw. The Puppetmaster and City of Sadness are definitely up there, though.

chetienne
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#286 Post by chetienne » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:28 pm

Point of clarification on the prints from the Center for Moving Image Arts at Bard. Both the prints of DUST IN THE WIND and THE PUPPETMASTER are older prints, probably original release prints, that Richard Suchenski acquired for the Center's collection. The print of FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI was newly struck from the OCN just in advance of the complete retrospective that toured internationally between late 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, it appears whichever lab was employed for the project did not observe the timing notes that should have been on file with the negatives, as the print is quite clearly a stop or two brighter than it ought to be. The print of FLOWERS that used to circulate before the Bard print became available is instructive in this respect. For the benefit of any programmers that might read this, that print belongs to Shochiku!

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#287 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:41 pm

The Shochiku DVD also looked too bright to my eyes. (The Sinomovie release seems to be drawn from the same source, except it's interlaced for some reason.) The darker R2F is the best I've seen it look on video, though if any film needs 35mm it's probably this one.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#288 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:38 pm

chetienne wrote:Point of clarification on the prints from the Center for Moving Image Arts at Bard. Both the prints of DUST IN THE WIND and THE PUPPETMASTER are older prints, probably original release prints, that Richard Suchenski acquired for the Center's collection. The print of FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI was newly struck from the OCN just in advance of the complete retrospective that toured internationally between late 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, it appears whichever lab was employed for the project did not observe the timing notes that should have been on file with the negatives, as the print is quite clearly a stop or two brighter than it ought to be. The print of FLOWERS that used to circulate before the Bard print became available is instructive in this respect. For the benefit of any programmers that might read this, that print belongs to Shochiku!
Thanks for the clarification! Making even one 35mm print of a feature is not cheap, especially for a modest academic institution, so I wasn't entirely sure if any or all of these were dupes or what circulated before except in the case of "The Flowers of Shanghai" which looked remarkably different from the print (lacking the Bard logo) shown at Metrograph.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#289 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:53 am

Watched the restored "Green, Green Grass of Home" from the Belgian Cinemathek set. Not perfect, but a big improvement from the previous Asian DVD. Really, really love this film -- even if it represents HHH still in the mainstream entertainment film business (albeit edging away, I think).

auteur
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#290 Post by auteur » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:21 am

I just saw the wonderful A Summer at Grandpa's & The Boys from Fengkuei on bluray.
any news about bluray releases on the other HHH films?
like
2005 Three Times
2003 Café Lumière
2001 Millennium Mambo
1998 Flowers of Shanghai
1996 Goodbye, South, Goodbye
1995 Good Men, Good Women
1993 The Puppetmaster
1989 A City of Sadness

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Foam
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#291 Post by Foam » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:03 am

Just now getting into Hou. I'm stunned. After not being all that impressed with Joe, Yang, Jia, and Tsai, my "hyped slow Asian guy recommendations" meter was pointed firmly towards incredulous. But close to back-to-back viewings of Three Times and Millennium Mambo have changed all that. These are probably my favorite instances ever of extended "montage within the shot" just thru camera movement, staging, etc. So many filmmakers get the "every shot is a painting" canard. But with these films, every shot is multiple paintings! (That sounded a little bit more revelatory in my mind... oh well.) Maybe a better example would be... every shot is three pages worth of panels in an uncommonly subtle manga. But really, the level of detail in the performances of these two films, and how that is aided by every slight movement the camera makes--it's just stunning. And it's probably going to finally force me to just save all my DVD money up for a spell so that I can go Region Unlocked. What a filmmaker.

Where to next? (Considering I'm locked to Region 1 for the moment)

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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#292 Post by artfilmfan » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:46 am

I'd like to recommend Dust in the Wind (my favorite Hou film) and Cafe Lumiere next. The first is available for streaming from Amazon Video (and OOP region-free DVD and Taiwanese Blu-ray) and the second is available on DVD at Amazon.

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swo17
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#293 Post by swo17 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:01 am

Your painting comment makes me think you'll like Flowers of Shanghai.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#294 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:40 am

swo17 wrote:Your painting comment makes me think you'll like Flowers of Shanghai.
The world really really needs a lovely BD of this film....

artfilmfan wrote:I'd like to recommend Dust in the Wind (my favorite Hou film) and Cafe Lumiere next.
Seconding your recommendations.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#295 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:40 pm

And if you want to see Daughter of the Nile the Masters of Cinema dvd should play just fine on a laptop via VLC media player. I think it's the film prior to Dust in the Wind but as Tony Rayns note in his introduction to Daughter it anticipates a film like Millennium Mambo.

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John Cope
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#296 Post by John Cope » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:22 pm

Flowers of Shanghai is one of the greatest films of all time so, yes.


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jindianajonz
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#298 Post by jindianajonz » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:33 pm

Here's a cool souvenir I picked up in Taipei- the theater that Hou founded was selling this tote bag bundled with the 1995-2001 DVD Box Set
Image

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domino harvey
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#299 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:21 pm

Love that!

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swo17
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Re: Hou Hsiao-hsien

#300 Post by swo17 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:30 pm

Very cool

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