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A Borrowed Life


Dir. Wu Nien-jen. 1994, 167 mins. 35mm. With Tsai Chen-nan, Tsai Chou-fong, Fu Jun. The directorial debut of Wu, who has worked with Hou, Edward Yang, and Ann Hui, was little-seen in the United States despite being one of Martin Scorsese’s ten favorite films of the 1990s. A Borrowed Life follows a working-class Taiwanese family from the aftermath of independence from Japanese rule to the 1980s, centering on the relationship between father, coal miner Sega and son Wen-jian (who is played by three actors), characters drawn from Wu’s life. “[C]onveys a remarkably vivid sense of the natural world as it is apprehended by a child.” —The New York Times

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