Close Up

16 June - 2 July 2019: Dust in the Wind


Dust in the Wind
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1986, 110 min
Mandarin & Taiwanese with English subtitles

"A beloved favorite among Hou’s early films, Dust in the Wind is an affecting and poignantly fatalistic story of first love which follows a young couple finishing high school and leaving their remote mining village in search of work and a new life in Taipei. The film’s hypnotic extended opening shot on a train passing through a mountain landscape makes clear the careful formal lyricism – an absolute control of light, shadow and movement – which marks the film as an important milestone in Hou’s oeuvre. At the same time, the train is one of several pointed meta-cinematic references throughout the film (the plein air village screening, the decrepit Taiwan movie house) which reveal Hou’s canny awareness of the role of the New Taiwan cinema in shaping a mythos about Taiwanese history and place. Ironically, Dust in the Wind‘s elegy to waning village life transformed the film’s stunning mountainside setting into a popular tourist attraction and nostalgic pilgrimage site which today attracts streams of visitors from Taipei and abroad." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our Taipei Stories programme