Tóngnián wangshì (1985)
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English title is A Time to Live and a Time to Die
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To quote Mike D'Angelo: "I've always had trouble with e.g. Hou Hsiao-hsien's approach, which combines ostentatiously gorgeous imagery with a narrative that's just elliptical/skeletal enough to make me constantly unsure whether or not I'm supposed to be deeply confused." To be fair, the second half of this got me more involved, but the first is the usual Triple H style of distant actions done by characters I'm not sure I even recognize. I do recognize his genius, though. I just thought the D'Angelo quote summed up why I can't really connect with any of his films except maybe Millennium Mambo. Also are those guys munching wood?
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In 8 official lists
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This movie ranks #3 in Golden Horse's 100 Greatest Chinese-Language Films
This movie ranks #25 in HKFA's The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures
This movie ranks #343 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #528 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time
This movie ranks #643 in Tom Vick's Asian Cinema: A Field Guide
This movie ranks #737 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #790 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #914 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die