Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

Nangoku Saiken, Nangoku

Taiwan / Japan, 1996, 116 min

Shown in 1997 / 2003


Hou Hsiao-hsien
Kazuyoshi Okuyama, Yang Teng-kuei
Chu Tien-wen
Lee Ping-bin, Chen Hwai-en
Liao Ching-song
Jack Kao, Hsu Kuei-ying, Lim Giong, Annie Shizuka Inoh, Hsi Hsiang


prod co
Team Okuyama; 3H Films
Wellspring Media Inc, 419 Park Ave. South, 20th Fl., New York, NY 10016. FAX: 212-545-9931. EMAIL:


Selected and introduced by 2003 Mel Novikoff Award recipient Manny Farber.
Goodbye South, Goodbye

After a string of historical movies, Hou Hsiao-hsien turns his attention to Taiwan in the mid-1990s—and doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. As often before, his protagonists are small-time gangsters and bar girls, always looking for ways out but forever embroiled in petty, internecine squabbles. This lot spend much of their time traversing southern Taiwan, dashing from one get-rich-quick project to the next; in a sense, this is Hou’s road movie—complete with an impressive Lim Giong soundtrack. The plot follows the Mean Streets template: a wearying gangster pushing middle age (Jack Kao) gets more and more aggro because of the volatility of his sidekick, Flathead (Lim Giong). And their respective girlfriends, Ying and Pretzel, make things worse, not better: One yearns for “normal” domesticity, while the other turns suicidal after notching up vast debts in a gigolo joint. Background elements include the diminishing lure of mainland China, the dream of emigrating to start over and the quagmire of local government corruption. Hou takes these characters and issues seriously, of course, but he knows that a tiny shift in perspective would reveal their absurdity. The film is as much on a knife-edge as its subjects.

—Tony Rayns, 1996 Vancouver Film Festival

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