A Time to Live, a Time to Die

1985 [CHINESE]

Biography / Drama

IMDb Rating 7.6 10 2711

Please enable your VPN when downloading torrents



Uploaded By: FREEMAN
June 02, 2021 at 04:15 AM


1.23 GB
chi 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 16 min
P/S 2 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by grapelli 10 / 10

An atmospherically dense film

Besides being a great film about an emerging new generation in Taiwan after the war, this film is also full of authentic atmosphere.

There is the Japanese style house the family lives in; Japanese sandals, nowadays still worn by some elder people. Ah-ha and his granny eating water ice after he passed the entrance exam for middle school - the ice machine with it's big wheel in the foreground. The only street lamp, the kids play under in the evenings; the games they play in the streets. The haircut of school children - boys three centimeters, girls three centimeters below their ears. Their school uniforms, some of them still the same in Fengshan today (believe me). Gangs fighting with water melon knifes and the little red police jeep.

The film is close to real everyday life in Taiwan at that time, although you won't find much of it there nowadays.

Reviewed by jandesimpson 10 / 10

Family tragedies

SPOILER insofar as events towards the end are mentioned

This study of family life is Hou Hsiao-Hsien's most personal and deeply felt film. The voice-over narration by the central character is clearly autobiographical and there can be little doubt that these are recollections of the director's childhood and in particular of his parents. As in other Taiwanese films by Hou and his outstanding compatriot, Edward Yang, a sense of history is crucial to understanding how the families they portray think and feel. These are Chinese cut off from their mainland roots by revolution. For the adults the dream is to return and it is a question of making do with the island as a temporary refuge, albeit one that has become all too permanent. For the senile grandmother reality is poignantly blurred and she imagines her mainland home to be just down the road. Meanwhile the children happily play their games, spinning tops and occasionally wondering at such mysteries as telegraph poles being erected, until adolescence brings disillusionment, their loss of innocence manifesting itself in gang conflict. In an attempt to show things as they are, Hou eschews narrative connections which is why his films sometimes seem confusing at first acquaintance. How many young members of this family are there for instance? In itself this is rather unimportant as the interest mainly centres on Ah-ha the autobiographical son. It is only as we get into the film that we realise that the boy has three brothers, one of them much older and a sister. This is a film that does not give up its secrets during its first half-hour, so much so that whenever I watch it, I start by wondering if I have overrated it. It seems sketchy and formless - a wealth of domestic detail not leading anywhere in particular. Then suddenly there is a sequence that tears me apart. During a powercut the asthmatic father, who has long been in poor health, dies. This unleashes a torrent of family grief so powerfully traumatic that it is almost without equal in cinema. Only Satyajit Ray in his "Apu" trilogy has captured family bereavement as movingly. From this point onward the film exerts a compelling power. The middle section alludes to the type of youth gang warfare that is explored more fully in Yang,s "A Brighter Summer Day". Death dominates the final third of the film , first the lingering one of the mother who refuses cancer treatment and then the grandmother whom those younger members left behind unwittingly neglect. We as Westerners can perhaps empathise with young adolescents placed in this position, but, in the eyes of the Eastern mortician, they are irredeemably guilty of filial neglect. Although "The Time to Live and the Time to Die" is arguably Hou's greatest work, it is at the same time his most depressing. Like Helma Sanders-Brahms in "Germany, Pale Mother", a film depressing almost to the point of morbidity, the director forces us to confront aspects of life we would rather not think about, but by so doing enriches our understanding of the human condition in a way that only the very greatest can achieve.

Reviewed by alsolikelife 10 / 10

A great introduction to the world's greatest director

I recommend A TIME TO LIVE AND A TIME TO DIE as a great introduction to the films of Hou Hsiao Hsien, who I consider the greatest director working today. Like most of his films, this one is about the telling of history, the effort to recreate the memories of the past, in this case his childhood memories growing up in rural Taiwan. His family has escaped Communist China but live as if they will make their return someday. That someday never comes, the family grows old, and members die one by one. These tragedies (filmed with heartbreaking solemnity) serve as punctuation marks for the film's narrative, which isn't so much concerned with plot details as it is with capturing the sense of what it was like to live at that time, as the kids develop their own sense of belonging, in a country they have adpoted just as it has adopted them. His method of editing and storytelling is something close to revolutionary, and he would refine it in his later films. His ability to set scene after impeccable scene and let the ideas ferment over their totality is unparalleled. This is perhaps his most accessible film, full of heart and pathos. It may seem slowgoing by Hollywood standards, but if you have the willingness to let it wash over you, you will be transported, both mentally and emotionally.

Read more IMDb reviews


Be the first to leave a comment