Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

Meili Shiguang

Taiwan, 2002, 109 min

Shown in 2003


Chang Tso-chi
Lu Shih-yuan
Chang Tso-chi
Chang Yi-min
Liao Ching-sung
Fan Wing, Gao Meng-jie, Yu Wan-mei, Tien Mao-ying, Wu Yu-chih


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The Best of Times

Chang Tso-chi has forged a unique place as one of Taiwan’s finest new filmmakers, his quiet, light touch already familiar, even reassuring. The Best of Times nestles comfortably next to his other films: Chang’s jumble of terrific nonactors mixed with seasoned professionals, knowing ease with its lower-class milieu, sensuously prowling camera and superb use of music. As in his Darkness and Light (SFIFF 2000), we settle in to a big, bustling extended family, every meal the scene of barely controlled chaos. Wei, the film’s narrator, is a teen with an obsession with Bruce Lee, a job as a doorman at a hostess bar and a sister dying of leukemia. His best pal Jie is a layabout and a hothead, who fancies himself a pretty fair amateur magician, trying out new card tricks on passing strangers. When Wei gets a chance to move up in his job, doing errands for his shady boss, he brings Jie along for the ride. Before they (or we) know it, they’ve slipped into the criminal world—and are alarmingly ill-prepared for it. Chang nimbly skirts all the kids-in-trouble clichés, and, though his tale is sad, he adds a delicious taste of magic realism that may just leave you smiling, and certainly satisfied.

—Tod Booth