HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Boys from Fengkuei, The Leave Home
Year: 1983
Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Stars: Chang Chun-Fang, Chang Shih, Niu Doze, P’eng-chue Chao, To Tsung-Hua, Yang Li-Yin
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Fengkuei is a small fishing port in Taiwan where a group of teenage friends have recently left school and now find themselves at a loss for what to do with their lives. They could stay in the village and eke out a living there, at least close to their families, or they could move to the big city and attempt to make something of their careers in a location where there is more money around. One of this small band of pals is Ah-Chung (Niu Doze), and he has more sadness in his life than the others since his beloved father was injured in an accident playing baseball, leaving him with brain damage and a shadow of his former self...

That nostalgia for a time when not only did things seem to be better, but there was more hope in a future that you were taking for granted would be brighter, was what informed the drama of this, director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's first real work that could be marked as that of the auteur he would become. He had cut his cinematic teeth on pop star vehicles for local favourite Kenny Bee, and while this had a certain teen appeal as those previous efforts had, there were no major stars here, and the mood was far more realistic and reflective, as if he had realised there came a time to put away childish things.

The effect was not, one had to say, optimistic, as if Hou was genuinely worried about the youth of Taiwan and had decided to establish himself as some sort of spokesman for what was remaining unspoken by the society at large. He refused to sentimentalise the situation, as early on we see the teenage boys cluelessly drawn into tit for tat fights that lead nowhere but manage to bolster their claims to macho supremacy which look absurd to our eyes, especially in light of where they end up. Not so much big fish in a small pond initially, but more small fish in a small pond, and they get by, harassing the girls and committing petty crime for ultimately useless status.

These activities, once the action moved to the bulk of the plot (not that it was vivid or starkly portrayed, you had to work at its observations), were thrown into sharper relief when three of the teens opt to move to the Big Smoke and see if they can get jobs there. Now they look like what they are, very small fry indeed, ripe for exploitation by the more worldly city folk and utterly out of their depth as they move into an apartment to share, part of a complex owned by someone's relative, where Ah-Chung is impressed by the sophistication of the girlfriend of said relative. We can tell this leaves him with a serious case of unrequited love, but he doesn't twig to his feelings himself until his heart is well on the way to being broken.

Despite the apparent temptation to depict his teen heroes as, well, as morons, Hou resists for he feels very sorry for how the modern world of eighties Taiwan is going to leave a lot of people who do not have the skills to survive in it very far behind, and after the earlier sequences where we were served up vignettes of the boys messing about in what seems very important to them, but to us looks almost pointless and trivial, we begin to warm to them when the extent of their lost at sea qualities become apparent. The Boys from Fengkuei did not have very much more to say than that, and when it did say it, Hou delivered the message at a certain distance the advantage of being an outsider can offer (though you imagine he knew people like this very well growing up), which could blunt its emotional impact (the classical music on the soundtrack his main surrender to sentiment), but in its quiet manner, he did hit home with this.

[This is available in the Eureka triple-film Blu-ray box set Early Hou Hsiao-Hsien: Three Films 1980-1983. The other films are Cute Girl and Green Green Grass of Home. Those features you can expect:

Limited Edition O-card [2000 copies First Print Run Only]
1080p presentations of all three films, across two Blu-ray discs
Uncompressed LPCM audio
Optional English subtitles
Video essays on all three films by Adrian Martin and Cristina Álvarez López
A collector's booklet featuring a new essay by Phillip Kemp.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2156 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: