The Time to Live, The Time to Die (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1985)

title-timeAfter his turn toward more personal filmmaking with 1983’s The Boys from Fengkuei, which was based on incidents from his own life transplanted onto a story of contemporary youth, and the following year’s A Summer at Grandpa’s, based on the recollections of Chu Tien-wen, an author whom Hou had met and begun a lifelong collaboration (she will write or co-write all of Hou’s features from Fengkuei on), Hou tells his own autobiographical story in 1985’s The Time to Live, the Time to Die, which remains one of his most-acclaimed films and is generally considered one of the greatest Chinese-language films of all-time (it placed third on the Golden Horse Film Festival’s Top 100 list in 2010 – Hou had two other films  in the top ten: Dust in the Wind was seventh and A City of Sadness was #1 overall).

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