Fri, Dec 03, 2004 - Page 17 News List

Cafe Lumiere shines in star-studded weekend

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cheung plays a single mom fighting for custody of her son, in Clean.


It is a busy time for star-spotting. Renee Zellweger came to Taipei yesterday to promote Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and will stay two more days. French director Olivier Assayas will attend Clean, this weekend's closing film of The Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. Andy Lau and Zhang Ziyi will be at the annual Golden Horse Awards in Taichung and Nicholas Cage will soon come over to promote National Treasure in Taipei.

This is a weekend to enjoy movies. The long-awaited Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) film Cafe Lumiere (咖啡時光) and Clean, an Assayas film starring Maggie Cheung (張曼玉), are released this week.

Cafe Lumiere is a must-see. Some critics have called it Hou Hsiao-hsien's best work since A City of Sadness (悲情城市). Hoover Cinema and Changchun Cinema will show the movie for those who miss the Golden Horse private screenings.

In Cafe Lumiere, Yo Hitoto plays Yoko, a young Japanese single mother and freelance writer returning home from Taiwan. Yoko researches Taiwanese musician Chiang Wen-yeh (江文也) who was active in Japan in the 1930s. While trying to present her life as ordinary and carefree, Yoko is hard-working and forward-looking. Her family worries about her and her good friend Hajime shows care and warmth while hiding his true feelings toward her.

Tadanobu Asano plays Hajime, the young owner of an antique bookstore. He expresses his affection for Yoko by taking walks with her, spending time in old-fashioned cafes with her and looking at her research. Hou's entrancing images reveal a story about personal feelings and generation gaps in Yoko's own calm pace.

There are some stunning scenes of Tokyo trains and these shots demonstrate Hou's association of nostalgia with riding trains. Cafe Lumiere pays tribute to Ozu Yasujiro and his classic 1920 film Tokyo Story.

Film Notes


Directed by: Olivier Assayas

Screening venues: on general release

Language: in English and Cantonese with Chinese subtitles

Taiwan Release: Dec. 4

Cafe Lumiere

Directed by: Hou Hsiao-hsien

Screening venue: Hoover Cinema, 89, Wuchang St, Sec 2 (武昌街二段89號)Changchun Cinema, 172, Changchun Rd (長春路172號)

Language: in Japanese with both Chinese and English subtitles

Taiwan Release: Dec. 3

Clean is also worth watching. Maggie Cheung plays Emily, a woman sent to jail for drugs use. Emily deals with her rock star husband dying from a drug overdose and her little son refusing to accept a drug-addicted mom.

The six-months jail sentence changes Emily. She goes to Paris, works as a waitress and tries to stay clean so that she has a chance to win back custody of her son. In the meantime she sings in a pub to fulfill her dream of becoming a chanteuse. Her efforts to stay drug free, however, are not always rewarded.

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