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109 minutes · 2013

Hou Hsiao-hsien's 1987 Taiwanese feature is less powerful than his preceding A Time to Live and a Time to Die but much better than his subsequent Daughter of the Nile. It follows two young lovers who move to Taipei to find work because they can't afford to finish high school, and slowly but irrevocably their relationship is torn asunder. Hou's feeling for the textures of everyday life, caught mainly in long takes and intricately framed deep-focus compositions, gives this unhurried but deeply affecting drama a deceptively subterranean impact that gradually rises to the surface. The very natural and, for the most part, underplayed performances by nonprofessionals are especially impressive. In Mandarin with subtitles.

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