2 August 2002 | lingmeister
Hou's critique of old and new Taiwan.
Director Hsiao-hsien Hou seem to be fascinated with the disconnected newer generations in contemporary Taiwan, including it in other films like "Goodbye South, Goodbye". In this film, he takes on the period after the Nationalist retrieved to Taiwan and parallels it with the modern day, putting one story in another as a story which the film is to be based on within a film. In both stories, it is about the turbulent times in which the people as a whole act self destructively, either doing what they think is right as in the Nationalist government or due to their disassociation with the rest of society. The anonymous faxes in the modern period seem to be an indication that incidences either swept behind or intentionally forgotten will come back to haunt you until the issue is confronted. A message that the brutality that happened after the Nationalist's arrival in Taiwan should not be forgotten or ignored, but should eventually be dealt with.
This is a movie that bravely confronts issues in a country that is too preoccupied with trying to juggle for positions in the global market. A reminder to everyone that a country's history does not consist of only the valiant highlights, but also of shameful past that should not be discarded.