SOUTHEAST ASIAN PREMIERE
Alternate Title: Play While You Play
Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Runtime: 91 minutes
Language: Mandarin with English subtitles
Before achieving international acclaim and being widely-recognised as one of the leading auteurs of New Taiwanese Cinema, Hou Hsiao-hsien made Cheerful Wind. A lighthearted romance, billed as a Lunar New Year release, it was a box office success at the time.
Starring pop idols Feng Fei-fei, Kenny Bee and Anthony Chan (the latter, two members of popular Cantopop band The Wynners), the film opens on the Pescadores Islands where Lo-zai (Chan) is directing a laundry detergent advertisement, with his camera assistant and girlfriend, Hsing-hui (Feng). A blind man Chin-tai (Bee) wanders onto the set and Hsing-hui being drawn to him, casts him as an on-screen talent. When the two meet again in Taipei, they forge a friendship which soon blossoms into romance.
Although largely crafted within the constraints of commercial genre sensibilities, the film employs a narrative approach that offers a reflection of the society of the time. Even in this early work, sketches of Hou’s signature themes can be gleaned, such as his explorations of Taiwan’s urban-rural divide and the complexities of modern love.
Cheerful Wind was digitally restored in 2018 by the Taipei Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI) and IMAGICA Lab. A combination of original 35mm negatives, dupe negatives and Betacam tapes were used. Due to the poor physical condition of the film, removal of scratches and dirt, stabilising and deflickering were performed. Serious colour fading and colour unevenness in several scenes were addressed with grading and a special colour method process. The sound was taken solely from the 35mm prints as they were in the best condition. Analog noises and hissing were reduced.
About the Director
Regarded as one of the most important and influential figures in world cinema, Hou-Hsiao-hsien was a key member of Taiwan’s New Wave Cinema in the 80s and 90s. Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1989 for A City of Sadness and Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 for The Assassin, Hou has directed 18 feature films over four decades – a body of work that largely deals with the fluid intersections between personal and collective histories of Taiwan and its peoples.
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