3 October 2002 | tim777ca
Taiwan landmark film
IN OUR TIME (1982) is widely known as the film that evoked Taiwan New Wave Cinema in the early 1980s, followed by a commercially more successful THE SANDWICH MAN next year.
It's an episodic film written and directed by 4 new-comers: Teh-Chen Tao, Teh-Chong (Edward) Yang, Yi-Chen Ko, and Yi Chang. All of them have film education backgrounds. Tao gained a master degree at Syracuse University while Ko got his at Columbia College; Chang graduated from Film Program of a college in Taipei and became a famed screenwriter before making this movie; Edward Yang, who studied at USC for a year, has won international reputation for his later works.
The theme of IN OUR TIME deals with 4 stages in life. The first episode titled LITTLE DRAGON HEAD, directed by Tao, is a stylish depiction of childhood misery in 1950s Taiwan. His camera work is impressive, but the pace a bit slow.
Second episode EXPECTATION, directed by Yang, is a simple realization of young girl's yearning for love, set in 1960s. Also sparked by filmic style, but not much dimension.
Third episode THE JUMPING FROG, directed by Ko, is fast-paced comedy about vigorous college life in 1970s. Some absurd vignettes adding to its flavor.
Fourth episode SAY YOUR NAME, directed by Chang, is a sitcom about identity problems of a young couple in 1980s. Interesting idea, fair performances, and tight direction.
What makes the movie so important in Taiwan film history is that most directors before them learned their crafts under studio system, working their ways up step by step for years. After becoming film directors, they don't have individual style or abilities to write their own screenplays, just make routine productions according to what they learned from veteran director.
On the contrary, IN OUR TIME is a conscious creation by 4 young filmmakers with high-level education backgrounds. They know exactly what they want in every single shot instead of telling stories written by others.