This “group portrait of four laddish adolescents on the razzle in Kaohsiung as they approach the onset of adult life” (Tony Rayns) is Hou Hsiao-hsien’s fourth film, but he has long considered it to be the real beginning of his career as a moviemaker. “I had very intense feelings at the time,” Hou told Sam Ho, “and I think the film has an intense energy. An artist’s early work might be lacking in craft but, at the same time, be very powerful, very direct. Later, when I wanted to return to that initial intensity, I no longer could.” In the tradition of Fellini’s I Vitelloni, The Boys from Fengkuei is a deeply personal look back at the director’s own adolescence—at the boredom of living in the middle of nowhere and the overwhelming need to get up and move, and get out and away to the big city. A glorious young-man’s film, and the first great work of the Taiwanese New Wave. Restored by the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique in collaboration with Hou Hsiao-hsien and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.
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