A Time to Live, A Time to Die

A Time to Live, A Time to Die

The Time to Live and the Time to Die, also known as A Time to Live, A Time to Die is a 1985 film directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien. This film is inspired by screenwriter-turned-director Hou's own coming-of-age story.


Spanning the years 1947–65, the film follows the maturation of Ah-ha (Ah-hsiao) as he and his family (parents, grandmother, older sister, three brothers) cope with the shock of leaving their homeland (the grandmother keeps talking about returning to the mainland to visit the ancestors). Having been only a child during the move, Ah-ha quickly acclimatizes himself to the new country, often putting him at odds with his more traditional family; he joins a street gang and has to choose between that life and taking the college entrance exam.