HHH XII

[English below]

Pese a sus muchos cambios de nombre –y de dueño–, Taiwán es un país con historia, y el cine de Hou Hsiao-hsien no ha dejado de abordarla. Por lo que parece, Good Men Good Woman (好男好女, 1995) es la película de la que Hou está menos satisfecho. Es cierto que la apuesta formal y dramática es arriesgada. Su narrativa compleja corre el riesgo de volverse esquemática y explicativa, cosa que no ocurre gracias al talento de guionista de Chu Tien-wen. La película entrelaza dos historias: la de Bi-yu, que transcurre en los años cuarenta, y la de Liang Ching, en el Taiwán de los noventa. Los dos personajes están interpretados por la misma actriz, Annie Shizuka Inoh. Las dos comparten el dolor por la muerte violenta de sus compañeros. Hao-Tung, el marido de Bi-yu, es un joven marxista que será víctima del terror blanco del KMT. Ah-Wei, un gánster interpretado por Jack Kao, es asesinado ante los ojos de su amante, Liang Ching. Pero Hao-Tung y Ah-Wei son personajes diferentes. Aunque el cine de Hou trata a todos sus personajes en pie de igualdad, no por ello traza una analogía entre el gánster de los noventa y el marxista de los cuarenta. En realidad, Ah-Wei es un personaje ambiguo. Mientras que la película se posiciona claramente con las víctimas del terror blanco, es difícil decir que haga lo mismo con el hampa. La ambigüedad de Ah-Wei rompe la simetría entre la parte histórica y la parte contemporánea del film. Desde Daughter of the Nile (尼羅河女兒, 1987), los gánsters y los personajes femeninos guían a Hou en su exploración del presente. Junto con estos personajes, su cine se vuelve más sensual y aparecen nuevas preocupaciones formales. En Good Men Good Women, Hou film los techos y los árboles, siempre desde arriba hacia abajo, uniendo con este recurso formal imágenes del pasado y del presente.

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Taiwan has had a few different names as well as a few different owners, but it does not mean that it is a country without history. The cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien has often addressed this history. It seems that Hou is not so satisfied with his 1995 film Good Men Good Women (好男好女). It is true that both from a formal and dramatic point of view, the film could have become convolute, but thanks to Chu Tien-wen‘s talent as a screenwriter this does not occur. The film intertwines the stories of two persons fifty years apart: Chiang Bi-yu, an anti-Japanese resistance fighter during the 1940s, and an actress in the 1990s named Liang Ching. Both characters are played by the same actress, Annie Shizuka Inoh. They both share the sorrow for the violent death of their companions. Hao-Tung, Bi-yu’s husband, is a young Marxist and a victim during the White Terror purge after the KMT retreated to Taiwan in 1949. Ah-Wei, a gangster played by Jack Kao, is killed by a rival gang before the eyes of his lover, Liang Ching. However, Hao-Tung and Ah-Wei are different characters. Even if Hou’s cinema usually treats all its characters on an equal footing, this does not mean that an analogy is drawn between the Marxist of the 1990s and the gangster of the 1940s. Actually, Ah-Wei is a very ambiguous character. The film clearly positions itself on the side of White terror victims, but it is difficult to affirm that it does the same in regard to the organized crime. Ah-wei’s ambiguity breaks the symmetry between the historical and the contemporary parts of the film. Starting from Daughter of the Nile (尼羅河女兒, 1987), gangsters and female characters have guided Hou in his own exploration of present times. Besides, with characters like Ah-wei, his cinema becomes more sensual, and new formal concerns appear. In Good Men Good Women, Hou’s camera films ceilings and trees moving vertically downwards. Through this formal resource, he links images of the past to images of the present.

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