Autumn Execution | Chicago Reader

Autumn Execution

Taiwanese director Lee Hsing (Beautiful Duckling, Oyster Girl) isn't known for his subtlety, and part of the fun of this endearingly soapy historical melodrama (1972) is his insistence on directing with exclamation marks; every key scene is punctuated with a smash zoom, a match cut, or an ominous gong. Set during the Han Dynasty, the film follows the struggles of an aging matriarch and her adopted daughter as they deal with the death sentence given to their family's sole male heir, an unrepentant murderer. The morals are dubious at best (bad parenting, it turns out, is the root of all evil), but the film's heightened artificiality—which extends from the studio sets to the performances—has a charm of its own. Also known as Execution in Autumn. In Mandarin with subtitles.



  • Lee Hsing


  • Au Wei
  • Tang Pao-Yuen

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