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The Time to Live and the Time to Die by Hou Hsaio-hsien

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Cynthia Stults
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The Time to Live and the Time to Die by Hou Hsaio-hsien

The Time to Live and the Time to Die


This film was part of Taiwan’s New Wave Cinema movement, and features realistic depictions of the director/writer's daily life, and is slower paced, with fewer close-ups. The realistic depictions of daily life and a surprising lack of dialogue were the major reasons I felt that portions of this film could be used within my fourth grade class. There are examples of how children in other countries are educated, play, and live (there are some excellent depictions of the rituals after characters die, but that may be a bit much for younger students). I would have students compare and contrast, their experience with the characters and write an essay as part of ELA. At one point, after the loss of their father and a sick mother, some of the brothers turn into bullies/neighborhood gang. I would also use these clips as part of social-emotional learning, to discuss why some people turn to bullying and gangs, and discuss what they could have done instead. Due to its slow pace, I don’t think many students would have the attention span to sit through the entire movie, and there are a few swear words in the subtitles that might need to be turned off for younger viewers.