tsui hark's strange experimentation with cgi might have come to its fruition in this magical film. while american cgi is typically praised it reaches some semblance of verisimilitude (e.g. jurassic park), tsui's cgi revels in artificiality in order to create striking fantastical images. in this respect one could compare tsui's approach to, say, the matte paintings in hitchcock's marnie, but that would be somewhat inaccurate because cgi for tsui, certainly in this film, is a matter of elevating emotion rather…
while 'dust in the wind' does bridge hou’s early semi-autobiographical narratives and his more formally pronounced 90s films, it’s not a transitional work, in the sense that that label implies a journeyman quality. hou’s nuanced and varied approach to lighting should alone dispel that notion. hou’s staging often transforms relatively small areas into vast spaces. within these spaces the protagonists are often crowded by people, architecture, and ordinary objects. this strategy, employed both laterally and through depth of field, underscores the couple’s insignificance and malaise.
(i'd really like to read an in-depth treatment of this film because i feel incapable of properly writing about hou hsiao-hsien.)