Execution in Autumn

Execution in Autumn

Taiwan | 1972 | 99 min | Hsing Lee

April 23, 2022

In ancient China, a man sentenced to death and waiting for an autumn execution is affected by his fellow prisoners, his jailer, and the loving woman his grandma sends to hopefully get an heir before he dies. From prolific Taiwanese filmmaker Hsing Lee.

An engrossing tale of spiritual redemption set in ancient China, Execution in Autumn traces the evolution of Pei Gang (Ou Wei), a violent hothead in prison condemned to death, screaming about how unfair it is. Pei Gang is the only male heir of an illustrious family, spoiled from childhood by his rich grandmother, who promises she can fix any problem. Since executions are not allowed during the seasons of life and rebirth but only in autumn, Pei Gang has many months to wait for his death. He is condemned for killing a woman who claimed to be pregnant with his child and the two men helping her to blackmail him. His grandmother manages to get him a retrial, but his complete lack of repentance results in the same verdict. Determined to perpetuate the family bloodline, Pei Gang’s grandmother recruits a loyal family ward, Lian (Tang Pao Yun), to be smuggled into prison to sleep with him, but Pei Gang feels some unfamiliar scruples. Against the odds, he actually grows as a man in prison even as his time on earth nears premature completion. Beautifully shot with a poetic sense of the passing seasons, Execution in Autumn won five of Taiwan’s 1972 Golden Horse Awards, including best film, director, and actor. Digitally restored.

Ruth Hayler

  • Original Language Title: 秋決
  • Director: Hsing Lee
  • Principal Cast: Ou Wei, Tang Pao-yun, Bi Hui Fu, Wai Lau Chen, Shao Ching Chou
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Year: 1972
  • Running Time: 99 min
  • Producer: Chen Ru-ling
  • Screenplay: Yung-Hsiang Chang
  • Cinematographers: Kunhou Chen
  • Editors: Hung-Min Chen
  • Music: Ichirô Saitô
  • Awards: Golden Horse Film Festival 1972 (Best Director)
  • Filmography: The Heroic Pioneers (1986), He Never Gives Up (1978), Beautiful Duckling (1965)
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP