IN OUR TIME
Directed by Tao Te-chen, Edward Yang, Ko I-chen, Chang Yi
New 30th anniversary digital restoration
With the sashaying, electric guitar loneliness that begins Santo & Johnny’s instrumental classic “Sleepwalk,” world cinema history is forever changed. These are the nostalgic beginning notes of a movement that captured the international film community’s attention, and which defined many of the most exciting directions that cinema would take in the subsequent decades.
It was 1982, the early years in a decade that would define Taiwan’s emerging democracy – its deshackling from martial law and cold war paranoia. In these years, writers like Pai Hsien-yung and Huang Chun-ming were in very different ways breaking from the dominant narrative of the Republic of China and telling stories that were self-reflexive and critical. Some of their younger peers, led by cultural renegades like Wu Nien-jen, Chu Tien-wen, and Edward Yang, became interested in cinema and started hanging out at Yang’s house, where they were joined by young blood already in the film industry, including a budding director named Hou Hsiao-hsien.
IN OUR TIME is considered the first film of the Taiwan New Cinema movement. As the local film market was quickly losing ground to competition from Hong Kong and Hollywood, the government-owned Central Motion Picture Corporation decided to give the kids a shot. IN OUR TIME is a collection of four shorts, each by a different rookie director, and each about a different decade in Taiwan’s recent history. Collectively, they document a generation growing up with college woes, sexual discovery, and the hypnosis of American rock ‘n roll. Independently, they showcase the new voices of young Taiwan, including one from director Edward Yang (A Brighter Summer Day, Yi Yi), who would go on to become one of the greatest directors of all time. –Brian Hu