Thursday, July 12, 2018

Four Moods (Bai, Hu, Li, Li, 1970): Mini-Film Review

Four Moods 《喜怒哀樂》is a portmanteau film, uneven in quality, yet still a must see film for any student or aficionado of Taiwan cinema of the 1960s and 70s because it showcases the four of the five major Taiwan directors (I would include Song Cunshou 宋存壽) of the era.

It is organized into four parts, each one focusing on a particular depiction of emotion taken from folklore: Bai Jingrui's 白景瑞 psychedelic experiment "Joy", King Hu's 胡金銓 tea house drama "Anger", Li Xing's 李行 melancholy representation of loss expressed via flashbacks in "Sadness", and Li Hanxiang's 李翰祥 intersection of the physical and spiritual worlds in "Happiness."

Surprisingly, Li Xing perhaps directs his best cinematic work in this film, a segment staring the absolutely superb Ou Wei 歐威 (pictured below). If you only check out one segment of this film to get an insight into the Taiwan mise-en-scène and aesthetics of the time, Li Xing's section is the one.

For my list of Taiwan Cinema Toolkit film reviews, click this link here.

No comments:

Post a Comment