Dust of Angels

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Dust of Angels 

少年吔,安啦!  (Shao Nien Ye An La!)

Taiwan, 1992, 111’, Taiwanese, Chinese
2K Restored 2021
Directed by: Hsu Hsiao-ming
Screenplay: Hsu Hsiao-ming
Photography (color): Chang Hui-kung
Editing: Liao Ching-song 
Production Design: Hsu Ying-kuang
Sound Recording: Tu Duu-chih, Yang Jing-an
Music: Lim Giong
Producer: Chang Hua-kun
Executive Producer: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Cast: Jack Kao, Vicky Wei, Yan Chen-guo, Tan Chi-gang, Chang Yi-han, Chen Sung-yung


Dust of Angels is a story of the hesitancy of youth. This saga of two teenagers thrust into the dissipated grandeur of the big city, where they are forced into a bewildering adulthood, crystallizes a sense of dispossession with the backward ways of small-town Taiwan.
The heroes are two seventeen-year-old boys from the town of Beigang, whose youthful recklessness is like a gun, heavy with a potential for violence. And they and their companions are like bullets, releasing their pent-up energy in short, staccato bursts of random lighting and petty vandalization. But these acts of rebellion never quite amount to much and, like amphetamines, they make a habit of simply seeming to provide a release from their aimless existence.
The boys travel to Taipei in the wake of an older friend whose own displacement within the gangster society has him intent on revenging his losses and recovering his honor. As the two kids indulge in the array of excesses the big city has on offer, they are swept up in their mentor’s deadly pursuit and find themselves awash in the aftermath of a crime they’re hardly aware of having participated in. Their near unwitting involvement in the tragedy before them only throws into broader relief the yawning gap between the swagger of their youth and the ability to meet the demands of the adult world now staring them in the face.
When, in the fog of early morning, we find the solitary body of one of the boys lying dead in a pool of his own blood, the slow current of the river beside him seems to say that it, too, can only mourn the untimely passing of the child’s youth. And his friend, searching for his lost companion, is left with no more answers as he wanders frightened and among the shifting shadows of Taipei’s prosperity.
With Hou Hsiao-hsien as its executive producer, director Hsu Hsiao-ming blends his life experience into the film, portraying the criminal gangs in Southern Taiwan. Heavily influenced by Taiwan New Wave, Dust of Angels is shot in a realistic style and faithfully re-construct the characters’ daily lives as well as the rhythm of the fluent Taiwanese dialect they speak. A protégé of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s, Hsu uses the telephoto lens and the fixed camera to capture the actors’ performance. In the film, the youth drug culture in the 1990s, the masculinity they demonstrate and the emptiness and sadness they feel when being drawn to the city not only echo with the changes in Taiwanese society after martial law was lifted but make it a witness to that period. Moreover, the soundtrack that consists of songs by Wu Bai, Lim Giong and Baboo is a memorable collection of Taiwanese rock and a compassionate companion for the tragic story of the youth in the film. 


Hsu Hsiao-ming


Born in Kaohsiung in 1955, Hsu graduated from Shih Hsin University of filmmaking. During school time, he practiced filmmaking with Lee Hsing and Chang Pei-cheng. In 1992, Hus made his feature debut, Dust of Angels, with Hou Hsiao-hsien as the executive producer. The film was selected as the closing film of Director’s Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival and won the Prix Fipresci at Toronto Film Festival in 1992. After establishing his own production company in 1995, Hsu made a splash in the cinema overseas with Heartbreak Island (1995). Both films make Hsu draw more attention worldwide.


1992 – Dust of Angels
1995 – Heartbreak Island
2004 – Wu yue zhi lian

Tsai Hsiao-sung
Film director: HSU Hsiao-ming
Year: 1992
Running time: 111'
Country: Taiwan
24/04 - 05:30 PM
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24-04-2023 17:30 24-04-2023 19:21Europe/Rome Dust of Angels Far East Film Festival Visionario, Via Asquini 33CEC Udine cec@cecudine.org