The Green, Green Grass of Home

Mandarin and Minnan, English and Czech subtitles
Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Starring: Kenny Bee, Meifeng Chen
Distributor: Cinémathèque royale de Belgique

Hou Hsiao-hsien is often regarded as a cinephile favourite and a regular guest at art festivals. But The Green, Green Grass of Home is a reminder of his earlier works, strongly influenced by a popular cycle of Taiwan romantic comedies. Hong-Kong popstar Kenny Bee portrays a town school teacher who finds himself working in a village and has to deal with a group of mischievous kids, illegal fishing and blooming love.

What Hou made is, however, not simply a commercial comedy, he is infallibly accurate in choosing beautiful compositions and thoughtful direction of movement within a frame. Apart from environmental issues he builds up a conventional romantic plot and finds inspiration in Ozu’s student films from 1930’s. The Green, Green Grass of Home is a unique experience that brings together a radical auteur with a non-traditional approach to a commercial and genre subject matter.