Good Men, Good Women

Overview

Hou Hsiao Hsien rounds out his loose trilogy on Taiwanese history -- The Puppet Master dealt with Japan's occupation of the island and City of Sadness focuses on Chiang Kai-shek's bloody occupation immediately following the war -- with this mediation on the anti-Communist campaign during the 1950s. The story is ostensibly about the real life events of Chiang Bi-yu (Annie Shizuka Inoh), who ventures to China with her new husband, Chung Hao-tung (Lim Giong), to join the anti-Japanese resistance along with three ...
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Overview

Hou Hsiao Hsien rounds out his loose trilogy on Taiwanese history -- The Puppet Master dealt with Japan's occupation of the island and City of Sadness focuses on Chiang Kai-shek's bloody occupation immediately following the war -- with this mediation on the anti-Communist campaign during the 1950s. The story is ostensibly about the real life events of Chiang Bi-yu (Annie Shizuka Inoh), who ventures to China with her new husband, Chung Hao-tung (Lim Giong), to join the anti-Japanese resistance along with three other friends. Once in China, they are immediately suspected of being Japanese spies and are almost executed. While working with the resistance, Chiang is forced to give up her first-born child -- the call of the motherland had no time for motherhood. When the war ends, they return to Taiwan. Chung takes a job as the principal of a school in the south of the island and starts a Marxist journal called the Enlightenment. As the Red Army swept down the Korean peninsula, Chiang Kai-shek -- at the behest of the Americans -- instituted the White Terror, which rooted out communists of every color. Soon Chung and Chiang are rounded up and brutally interrogated. Chiang is eventually released to her small brood of children while Chung is thrown against the wall and shot. Hou complicates this narrative by layering an additional story line about an actress, Liang Ching (also played by Annie Shizuka Inoh), who is rehearsing for a movie about the life of Chiang Bi-yu. Still reeling from the murder of her gangster boyfriend, Ah Wei (Jack Kao), three years previous, Liang is being faxed daily pages of her stolen diary, forcing her to confront her past. Soon the borders between the lives of Chiang and Liang become less and less distinct. This film was dubbed the single best film of the 1990s by Cahier du Cinema.
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Special Features

Interactive menus; Scene access; Subtitle control; Filmographies; Weblinks; "Flowers of Shanghai" trailer; 1.85:1 aspect ratio; Stereo
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
Hou Hsiao Hsien further explores territory he staked out in the previous two installments of his trilogy. Just as he collapses the distinction between narrative and documentary in The Puppet Master, Hsien includes a dizzying array of story lines that both questions and enhances the veracity of Chiang Bi-yu's biography. Just as he touches on the complex relationship between the past and the present in City of Sadness and The Puppet Master, Hsien foregrounds it in Good Men, Good Women. The past cannot quite stay dead in this film. The primary narrative is a remembrance of a historical moment that the Taiwanese government just as soon forget, while contemporary actress Liang is plagued by phantom faxes, reminders of her own checkered past. In fact, Hsien's entire trilogy is less about events Taiwan's past than how to understand history in general. Good Men, Good Women, along with the other two films, are awash in disparate languages -- Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese, Cantonese -- and are filled with references to personal diaries and other forms of personal documentation. All subvert the notion of a single unified historical narrative. This aside, Good Men, Good Women is a stunning film to look at. Hsien moves away from the rigid formalism of his previous works in favor of a somewhat looser style. Overall, Good Men, Good Women is a striking, ambitious work that merits the highest of praises.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/23/2001
  • UPC: 720917529424
  • Original Release: 1995
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Lorber
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Stereo
  • Sound: stereo
  • Time: 1:48:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lim Giong Chung Hao-Tung
Annie Shizuka Inoh Chiang Bi-yu, Liang Ching
Jack Kao Ah Wei
Technical Credits
Hou Hsiao-Hsien Director
Liao Ching-song Editor
Phil Heywood Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Hsieh Producer
Shozo Ichiyama Producer
Katsuhiro Mizuno Producer
Kazuyoshi Okuyama Executive Producer
Ron Purvis Musical Direction/Supervision
Chu Tien-wen Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Fighting Song [2:44]
2. Weird Fax [5:45]
3. Rehearsal [4:29]
4. Joining the Fight [5:36]
5. Another Fax [2:49]
6. Hot Spring [5:10]
7. Interrogation [8:34]
8. Harassment [8:56]
9. Contract [3:37]
10. Plotting [8:20]
11. Negotiation [11:20]
12. War Is Over [6:43]
13. Enlightenment [4:18]
14. Prison [4:48]
15. Argument [10:38]
16. Executions [14:04]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Scene Access
   Special Features
      Flowers of Shanghai Trailer
      Filmographies and Awards
         Hou Hsiao-Hsien
         Lim Giong
         Jack Kao
         Vicky We
         Annie Shizuka Inoh
      Subtitles
         English Subtitles: On
         English Subtitles: Off
   Weblinks
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