Wednesday BL- “ARGH!” – “Good Men, Good Women”

31 May 2011, Posted by arghcentral in 5. Wednesday BL-"ARGH!", No Comments. Tagged , , , , , , ,

Wednesday BL- “ARGH!” – “Good Men, Good Women”


Good Men, Good Women

Taiwan, 1995

Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien

History and national identity have long been present in the films of Hou Hsiao-Hsien, but between 1989 and 1995 he made a series of films dealing explicitly with the subject of the past, focusing his camera eye on the nature of recreating history. With A City of Sadness (1989) the intent was simply to present the past, a significant moment in time, as it was. The Puppetmaster (1993) shifts focus toward the methods of representing reality, not just through art but documentary — recollected memory and storytelling. The final film Good Men, Good Women poses new questions: How does one identify with the past? How do our perceptions of the past impact our sense of self and our relationship with the society we live in?

Good Men, Good Women is divided up in several ways. It depicts the modern life of an actress, Liang Ching, preparing for a film about the real life Chiang Bi-Yu, a member of a group of Taiwanese who traveled to the mainland to join the resistance against the Japanese during World War II only to return to the political oppression of post-war Taiwan. Liang simultaneously studies her role while dealing with the unresolved issues of her past. The dual structure of the film isn’t simple parity; the film within the film must be considered on both realist and theatrical terms and the present is both the literal present and the memory of the recent past. The two halves do parallel at certain points but the richness is in the inconsistencies between the two and their sub-divisions and the attempt at reconciling the confusion and guilt of the present with the apparent idealism and purpose of the past.

- Jonas Erickson

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