A Time to Live, a Time to Die Screen 4 articles

A Time to Live, a Time to Die

1985

A Time to Live, a Time to Die Poster
  • Outing myself here as one of those folks who thinks that Hou’s style didn’t come into its own until he switched to direct sound with A City Of Sadness. Still, the way this film teaches its viewer how to watch and experience it—continually returning to the same locations, re-framing objects so they develop a kind of oblique meaning through repetition, etc.—is master-class stuff.

  • At last, one is left with the feeling of what it’s like to stand in their family’s house years later, awash in so many years of memories, and realise that those moments and the people who inhabited them, whether alive or dead, are gone forever, save in one’s memory... The fact remains that for me, this movie was then, and is now, not just cinema as living memory, but memory as living cinema. It is my hope that it will live for you too.

  • Though a project of recollection and recreation, A Time to Live and a Time to Die is, as its title suggests, as much about life and resilience as about what’s gone and regretted. Even those scenes of adolescent stupidity witness a full-chested vivacity in Hsiao, as well as an increased stirring of maturity.

  • As his educated family faces poverty and disease as refugees, he yields to reckless, liberating impulses. Hou’s teeming yet oblique long takes serve to conceal action as well as reveal it; his images suggest a struggle to discern the particulars of a past that holds him in its grasp.

More Links