EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THE BOYS FROM FENGKUEI (FENG GUI LAI DE REN) (ALL THE YOUTHFUL DAYS) (director: Hsiao-Hsien Hou; screenwriter: Zhu Tianwen; cinematographer: Chen Kunhou; editor: Liao Qingsong; music: Ry Du-Che Tu/ Vivaldi/ Bach; cast: Ching-tzu (Ah-Ching), Chun-fang Chang (Hsaio-Hsien); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Zhang Huakun/ Lin Rongfeng; ; 1983-Taiwan-in Mandarin with English subtitles)|
film by Taiwanese master filmmaker Hsiao-Hsien
by Dennis Schwartz
early film by Taiwanese master filmmaker Hsiao-Hsien
Hou ("Flowers of Shanghai"/"The Puppetmaster"/"Goodbye
South, Goodbye"), which was his first indie production
and presented to good effect his celebrated
experimental long take shots and plotless stories.
It's written by Zhu Tianwen as a
declaration of how confusing it is being a male
teenager when trying to find one's identity and
way in the world while trying to navigate through
relationships with family, friends, girls and
introspective Ah-Ching is devastated because his
dad was hit in the face with a baseball and is now
in a veggie state, and without father supervision
hangs out with his three loafer pals who have left
school without graduating and are waiting to be
called-up for their army duty. The playful boys
reside in the backwater fishing village of
Fengkuei in the Penghu islands, where they get into
trouble because of a fight over cheating in cards.
After pulling some pranks and sneaking into an
arthouse movie theater showing Luchino
Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1959),
which follows the same youthful togetherness theme
as this pic, three of the boys split for the
bigger port city of Kaohsiung to seek
work and more fun. One of the boy's older sister lives
there and hooks them up with adequate living quarters.
The playful boys get factory jobs in the same place
their young neighbor couple works. Ah-Ching
is attracted to his criminal neighbor's girlfriend
Hsaio-Hsien. After the neighbor, Ah-ho, is
canned for stealing goods from the workplace and
ships out to sea, Ah-Ching
begins a cautious romance with Hsaio-Hsien.
But she suddenly flees to Taipei to live with an
older sister, and the crushed Ah-Ching, in the
last shot, is seen with his two other pals
futilely selling stolen tapes in the marketplace
and in desperation, being uncertain of his future,
shouting out about an unbelievable sale.
The aimless boys, in this coming-of-age film, have to wrestle with the death of one of their father's, being scammed by a con artist, discovering because of their lack of educational credentials they are fit for only low-end factory jobs and that finding the right women is not that easy. It's an enjoyable sentimental film that has a few laughs over observing how dumb teens can act and that there's a wake-up call around the corner when they suddenly realize their irresponsible childhood days are about to end and that being a grown-up calls for maturity.
REVIEWED ON 2/27/2013 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ