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Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996)

Cast: Jack Kao, Jack Kao, Hsu Kuei-ying, more...
Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hou Hsiao-hsien
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Fox Lorber
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Taiwan, Classic Crime, Crime, Classic Crime
Running Time: 112 min.
Subtitles: English
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After spending much of the decade making films about Taiwan's complex and troubled history, Hou Hsiao Hsien turns his attention to its money-obsessed present with this gangster drama. Tattooed mobster, Kao (Jack Kao), and his quick-tempered, aptly named protégé, Flathead (Lim Giong), along with their girlfriends, Ying (Hsu Kuei-ying) and Pretzel (Annie Shizuka Inoh), are desperately trying to make it big. Their master plan is open a disco in Shanghai, but that scheme seems less and less likely with each call they get from their cell phone. Corrupt mainland potentates want a king's ransom in kickbacks while Pretzel racked up a king's ransom of debt herself at the mahjong table, prompting her to make a half-hearted suicide attempt. To make ends meet, these would-be entrepreneurs make a stab at swindling the government over swine -- selling sows when they are supposed to be the more valuable studs. They wine and dine the farmers in rural backwater Chiayi only to get cut out of the deal and kidnapped by the corrupt police. This film was dubbed of the ten best films of the 1990s by numerous critics, including Susan Sontag. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

I need a camera in order to see by cammelltoe January 25, 2005 - 8:49 PM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Martin Scorsese once said--- after reading an interview with Jim Jarmusch in which Jarmusch states "I'm not interested in grabbing people by the hair and telling them where to look"--- that he (Scoresese)was interested in people seeing what he wants them to see. Hou Hsiao-hsien is a master of what Jarmusch was talking about: he just gives you a bustling frame and lets you decide where to focus your attention. What really sets Hou above and beyond for me is 1)his ability to maintain the illusion that stuff is happening outside of the immeadiate area of the shot 2) the elegance of his camera movements, 3) and his diffusion of dramatic moments. All of these virtues are on display in GOODBYE SOUTH, GOODBYE--- although I think FLOWERS of SHANGHAI is his most sucsessfull film.

Adios! by talltale November 3, 2004 - 9:59 AM PST
2 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Some moviemakers seem to speak directly to you, reaching you in a personal way that makes them exceedingly special. Others appear more intent on preventing you from entering their world: their films are like hands that cover your ears, eyes, mind and heart. I'd place Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-Hsien in this latter category--if GOODBYE SOUTH, GOODBYE is any indication of what he's trying to do. Slow to the point of distraction, it's filled with oodles of scenes involving trains, cars and motorcycles crossing various terrain and characters talking and talking and saying almost nothing. Yes, I know, that's the point. But, you know what? It's no point at all. There IS a sense of life lived, but so what? These are some of the least interesting lives I have encountered, shown as they are in one of the least interesting filmic styles I can recall. I can't fathom on what artistic grounds HHH has built such a reputation. After "Millennium Mambo" and now this, I admit to being flummoxed. Glutton for punishment that I am, I intend to try "Flowers of Shanghai," too. Maybe "period" is this guy's forte....

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.61)
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