Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

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Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Postby wpqx » Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:52 pm

Why arsaib never put his review here is beyond me, but get on that co-admin. Seeing how I only have one week to catch Three Times in the cinema (bastards), I figured it'd be in my best interest to watch Cafe Lumiere in preparation, although I'm not sure if the films have any similarities. The film isn't so explicitly linked to Ozu any more than any of Hou's films are. The camera moves a little too much to really be patterned after Ozu, but of course there are similarities. When people are in homes, they are almost invariably shot from a low camera and seen sitting down, of course a trademark of Ozu. I'm still getting through all the bonus interviews.

As far as the story of the film went I thought I was missing something, then I realized that there wasn't really anything to miss. This isn't a "plot" driven film, just sort of a sampling of life. Trevor's comments cover it pretty well. Not quite as ambitious as some of Hou's earlier films, but just as heartfelt.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Postby Johndav » Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:21 pm

A marvellous review by Trevor. It's as quiet, gentle and delicate as you could ask for as an antidote to Hollywood explosions and rollercoaster pacing. And yes, it's beautiful; lovely feel for composition. David Bordwell thinks Hou has at least as much in common with Mizoguchi as with Ozu (do read his book Figures Traced in Light), mainly due to his mise-en-scene, and there are certainly differences in camera move and angle to Ozu, but Hou's overall feeling, atmosphere here surely have more in common with him than with Mizo (as you'd expect from a tribute). I love its relaxed restraint; it doesn't force anything onto the viewer, takes its time, preserves a sense of mystery, no histrionics, and some very arresting shots in what may seem to many an unpromising environment (as with Ozu; the 2 directors could be described as urban poets i suppose, but neither would give themselves airs and graces). A delight, certainly among his best- i'm also very keen on The Time to Live, Good Men Good Women, and City of Sadness. Looking forward to Three Times.

Im Kwon-Taek the Korean director IS clearly strongly influenced by Mizoguchi (Hou apparently not), but i feel is quite a bit clumsier than Hou- Im does have an eye for scenery and colour, but at times his films cry out for a slightly more subtle approach, and then they might be something special. I say that without having seen his early Mandala (1981), which may surpass the later ones. Sorry, i've gone off on a tangent again.

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:21 pm

This isn't a "plot" driven film, just sort of a sampling of life."

That's exactly right.

It's also interesting to note that Hou only delved into Ozu a few years ago; I believe the only Ozu effort he saw as a youngster was I Was Born, But....

Re: Cafe Lumiere, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Postby Johndav » Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:05 pm

And yet he's long been compared to Ozu!


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