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Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:49 am
by groom daniel
I just saw this tonight. Really beautiful and understated. There's not much of a plot & it's only a tribute to Ozu in spirit, but it had a really gentle rhythm and I was enamoured with a number of small touches in it.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:44 pm
by hengcs
Hey groom daniel,
It is nice to see you so often on the forum

I think arsaib4 has watched the film on DVD too ...
I am not so sure if the rest has watched it too ...

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 2:45 am
by wpqx
Still not out here, too bad, I'm pretty ignorant of Hou.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 4:56 am
by arsaib4
I have Cafe Lumiere on disc but still haven't watched it yet. Will post when I do so.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:58 pm
by A
This will probably take long here in Germany, if it will be shown at all, as Hou isn't commercial enough even for the arthouse crowd, I guess.
I have only seen one of His films "Good Men Good Women", two months ago, and it was breathtaking, lyrical, gorgeous, loveable, sad,... I loved it. There was in fact a scene from one of Ozu's film in it.
Looking forward to this.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 12:19 pm
by hengcs

Hey arsaib4
Have you watched it finally?

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:26 pm
by trevor826
I can't believe this, I was so wrapped up with the "Asian Invasion" and "Ghibli" series on TV that I missed noticing that "Cafe Lumiere" is on every night this week on filmfour weekly. I'm absolutely delighted and actually quite flabbergasted because as far as I know, it isn't available yet on dvd in the UK.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:56 am
by arsaib4
I can't believe that you missed it either. It is available on DVD in the U.K. (ICA), but the quality isn't supposed to be very good. If you buy a DVD, get the one from the U.S. because it also includes an hour long doc called "metro lumiere" featuring Hou in a good mood, a rarity.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:07 am
by trevor826
Thanks for the info arsaib4. I taped it last night and will hopefully watch it today, if I do go for the dvd it will definitely be the Wellspring region 1 release.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:15 pm
by trevor826
Caf Lumire (2003) Kh jik

Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien

Main cast Yo Hitoto, Tadanobu Asano (Vital, Maborosi)

Very naturalistic performances in this homage to the work of master director Yasujiro Ozu. Covering familiar themes and situations and filmed in a similar way, there is very little in the way of plot and no form of resolution, in essence a study of life in modern Tokyo.

Themes include familial relations and the generation gap; the major difference between generations in the films of Ozu was the encroaching Westernisation and loss of tradition. In Caf Lumiere the parents (part of the post-war salary man generation) are confronted with different issues. They visit their daughter Yoko who tells them shes pregnant and has absolutely no intention of marrying the father, shes very disorganised in her home life and never seems to have any money thinking nothing of borrowing anything and everything from her landlady (something her stepmother finds shameful and embarrassing).

As for the parents, the father doesnt seem able to communicate his feelings, not once does he try and discuss his daughter's situation despite her stepmother constantly pushing him to, she worries that they (on their meagre pensions) cannot afford to support Yoko and the baby. There is no discussion, no confrontation and therefore no resolution to this issue.

Another favourite feature of Ozus films is trains, thats one thing you certainly get a lot of with this film, trains and tram cars, constant travelling, the hustle and bustle of city life against the comparative peace and calmness of Yoko's friend, Hajimes bookstore. Hajime (Tadanobu Asano) is one of the few people that Yoko can talk to but even then, their conversations are stilted and sparse, she doesnt even mention her pregnancy till she feels unwell.

Yoko herself is researching a Taiwanese composer Jiang Wen-ye who lived in Tokyo in the 1930s and whose music makes up the majority of the soundtrack. The one time she appears totally relaxed and open is while talking to his widow and looking through old photos and notes.

As already noted, there is no resolution to any part of the film, life carries on, things remain unsaid and when you come down to it, such is life.

A charming film that accentuates the diversity of old and new, of tradition and change and who knows, maybe just the type of film that Ozu would make were he alive today.

If you appreciate the work of Yasujiro Ozo and/or Hou Hsiao-hsien, you will almost certainly enjoy Cafe Lumiere. Personally, I'll be investing in the region 1 dvd just as soon as I can.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rating U

R2 Pal dvd available from ICA Projects. R1 ntsc dvd available from Wellspring.