The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, June 22-28

Strawman2

Strawman (1987)
Directed by Wang Tung
Wang Tung may not have the exacting formality of Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien, but Strawman’s pragmatic perspective on Taiwanese life near the end of Japanese rule has its own streaks of radicalism. The film subjugates concerns of national identity to the need for food and shelter, yet its multiple voiceovers hint at the same questions of representation that would characterize Hou’s lauded historical trilogy. Split into two halves—one about farming and potentially selling a field, the other about an American bomb that does not explode, leaving the villagers with ample scrap metal—Strawman also offers an oblique narrative that privileges absurdist gags and non-sequiturs over continuity. Taken as a whole, it helps fill a gap in the understanding of a cinema too commonly reduced to two or three auteurs. Forrest Cardamenis (June 25, 7:30pm at MoMA’s series spotlighting cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing)

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