Film Review: Cute Girl (1980) by Hou Hsiao-Hsien

As with many Taiwanese administrators, the trail to the primary characteristic begins with years of studying, at movie faculty in addition to on set, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s profession is definitely no exception. Having spent years coaching with cinematographer and director Lai Chengying, Hou established a status for himself, qualifying him to helm “Cute Woman”, a characteristic which might star the closely standard singer Kenny Bee in one in all his first roles as an actor, in a 12 months that noticed him act in lots of different productions. “Cute Woman” additionally marked the start of a fruitful work relationship with Hou as they’d additionally collaborate on “Cheeful “ind” and “The Inexperienced Inexperienced Grass of Residence”, which was launched solely two years after.

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Though she has made a profitable profession and is kind of well-educated, Wenwen (Feng Feifei) remains to be single, which is not any drawback for her, however fairly a catastrophe for her household, particularly her father. Dissatisfied with what he perceives as an immature life-style, he and his spouse have been searching for fairly a while, looking for an acceptable husband for his or her daughter. Nonetheless, earlier than she decides on the matter, Wenwen insists on visiting her aunt within the countryside, hopefully to make her father perceive she doesn’t wish to have an organized marriage. Throughout her keep, she meets Daigang (Kenny Bee), an engineer, who has been despatched to the agricultural village by his employer to plan the constructing of a brand new freeway.

Ultimately, the 2 fall for one another and spent a while collectively, with Wenwen’s aunt urging her niece to inform her dad and mom about her emotions for Daigang. Ultimately, she goes again to Taipei, the place she meets her future husband, a son from a rich household, who has been learning in France for the previous years. Whereas their first dates are outlined by their distance from one another, Wenwen ultimately begins to love the younger man and questions her emotions for Daigang, who, in return, tries to thwart any type of intimacy between his love and his rival.

Many instances Hou Hsiao-Hsien has said that his profession actually started with “The Boys from Fengkui” (1983), a characteristic which gained many awards at Nantes Three Continents Competition and the 1984 Golden Horse Movie Competition, marking his course in the direction of worldwide audiences. Within the context of the event of his directing model and the themes, which might outline his physique of labor, “Cute Woman” is however an attention-grabbing first characteristic. On the one hand, there isn’t any denying we’re coping with a piece which appears to be a car for the 2 foremost actors, each of which profitable pop stars on the time of manufacturing, to enterprise additional into the movie business. Given the sheer variety of musical scenes mixed with the sugary foremost theme “Cute Woman”, any viewer can have problem distinguishing Hou’s first characteristic from the type of rom-com Hollywood has turn out to be famend for internationally.

Then again, you shouldn’t ignore the significance of “Cute Woman” in relation to introducing audiences to the type of strategy, thematically and aesthetically, that Hou would develop additional in his subsequent tasks. As writer Philip Kemp rightfully factors out in his essay on the filmmaker’s early works, ideas such because the distinction between rural and concrete Taiwan or conventional household values, represented by Wenwen’s dad and mom, are current all through “Cute Woman”, though they’re extra within the background it appears. On the identical time, the mix of pop songs and the customarily corny scenes between the protagonists, particularly the primary idea is usually on the verge of being romanticized.

Within the roles of Wenwen and Daigang, Kenny Bee and Feng Feifei are most convincing when delivering the musical or romantic scenes in “Cute Woman”. As with many options of the style, you shouldn’t anticipate an excessive amount of depth of their performances, particularly in relation to the emotional turmoil ensuing from points such because the argument with Wenwen’s father, for instance.

In conclusion, “Cute Woman” is a romantic comedy, with many musical scenes. Whereas the characteristic definitely does it finest to entertain, within the context of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s profession it’s maybe most attention-grabbing as a primary step in creating themes and abilities for the director.

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