The lives of a couple, an amateur photographer and an injured girl intertwine.
The lives of a couple, an amateur photographer and an injured girl intertwine.
Kong bu fen zi, The Terrorisers, The Terroriser
The equivalent of a cinematic jigsaw puzzle...the answer (?) being that there is no real answer, only a series of juxtapositions between spaces related and unrelated. And perhaps it's only up to us and not him to answer it. Or question it. Yang films as though he came from a different age, and is stunned by the strangeness of objects and spaces of the latter 20th century, and must fixate on it. Initially it seems a treatise on inauthenticity, remiscinent of another masterful film about a world without thought (Fincher's Gone Girl) yet layers and layers of narrative and juxtaposition peel and unfold upon our eyes. The only innocent person here is the girl who makes the prank phone-calls, because…
Empty spaces contain the most. It is the absence of something that provides the best outline of it. Edward Yang's camera will move and linger away from people. Individuals in his films don't represent themselves, they represent us all. Yang is a contradiction, because his films are the most thorough examinations of internal struggle, but through that he makes a point about his country, our society, and all mankind.
There are two central pillars of society that Yang explored throughout his career, from That Day, on the Beach to A Brighter Summer Day to Yi Yi. One is the cycle of life, our…
Coincidence is a tricky narrative characteristic to work with when suspension of disbelief is a factor in the quality of your work. Obviously, in a vast and random universe, coincidence exists, but recognizable coincidence as a feature of your narrative risks unbelievability because of its rarity. Either things have an explanation, or the connections are invisible to the point that you can't tell things are related. In real life, coincidence is either too mundane to matter or so obfuscated as to be unnoticed. In a story such as this, where it is the focal point of the rather low key plot, the unlikelihood of a coincidence matters a great deal.
Yang pulls it off neatly, by keeping the entire narrative…
A living, breathing proof that multi-plot narratives can be profound and penetrating. The film that best exemplifies Edward Yang's exposure to the arts and ideologies of the west, it vividly portrays the slow disintegration of life in modern Taipei. When things do come to a boil, they are all the more shocking. Set in a time of rapid societal transformation, this layered and self-reflective film is as specific as it is universal.
Some fun Edward Yang facts:
1. His favorite color is red.
2. He has a degree in electrical engineering.
3. He was married to Tsai Chin.
4. He died of colon cancer.
5. He invented celluloid.
6. He was the first filmmaker.
The network narrative film too often makes a grand to-do of its domino narrative assembly, picking an obvious point to coalesce its threads into one overarchingly simplistic statement about the connected state of our modern existence. The Terrorizers completely flips that script: its plotlines happen simultaneously, with each arc's individual catastrophes played as separate but equal actions that influence other storylines but never meet into one unified statement of closure. In fact, the moments in which arcs collide tend to bring ruin all around, splintering the characters even as circumstance causes them to ricochet off each other from time to time. It's connectivity as an alienating hell of globalization, one where a palette of neutral white epitomizes a de-culturizing homogeneity…
A beautiful convergence of narrative and form. Yang attributes poetry to negative space, internal framing, and urban despair - I couldn't help thinking of Akerman and K. Kurosawa, but to rely on comparisons would be to deny this of its deeply empathetic singularity. One of the great films.
the psychic fallout of martial law. vintage Yang, but i regret not boning up on my Taiwanese history until *after* watching this. at the very least should have revisited Hou's CITY OF SADNESS. fascinating to see a metropolitan mosaic (in the vein of Altman or, um, CRASH) that refuses to sacrifice Yang's steady and calculated compositions... none of the frenzied and fluid movement that tends to typify this sort of film. Yang's obsession with haunted imagery and the merciless power of private despair is certainly on full display here, paving the way for his later masterpieces. suspect that this one will benefit enormously from future visits.
Even the tiniest implication can create a irrevocable rupture within the fabric of a cycle long past its due date, and with technology, that implication doesn't necessarily even have to be real. Just the rupture will provide the undoing itself.
Never has a film so perfectly captured the interconnected emptiness of urban, city life, each composition emphasising the distance between these characters, their isolated interactions, their total and utter despair. Yang's style is simply intoxicating, stitching together a multitude of impossibly perfect frames in order to create a singularly stylised world. It's poetic in the way every single image seems to inform the mood - abstracted, yet real (the editing is also next level good, shots interlocking in unexpected, unspoken ways, whilst elements such as colour and sound are quietly carried over).
Each narrative thread here seems to flirt with the next, undeniably linked, yet connected in a way which each of Yang's characters fails to realise or understand. Ultimately,…
Clearly a huge influence on Tsai, who lifted its structure for Vive L'Amour and built his entire career on its vision of urban anomie. I'm a bit surprised, though, by how superficially mechanistic this film seems, in comparison not just to Tsai (who somehow managed to create deeply human ciphers within an even more blatantly symbolic milieu) but to Yang's subsequent, richly character-based work. Not that I have a problem with that per se—many movies I dearly love treat people like chess pieces—but it's hard to generate pathos from "only connect" (or, more accurately, "barely connect") when it becomes retroactively clear that e.g. the budding photographer's primary function is to facilitate the doctor learning about the prank phone call.…
The gorgeousness of the Blu-Ray print of this only makes me more depressed about the terrible condition version I watched of Taipei Story.
Of the handful of 80s Taiwanese New Cinema films I've seen (just these two Yangs and the Hous), this one I think comes the closest to the more or less contemporary Hong Kong New Wave, two, in most respects, very distinct film movements. The youth could fit easily into the worlds of Patrick Tam's Nomad (the photographer) or Tsui Hark's Dangerous Encounters (the prostitute), while the meta-literary/cinematic twists are much more in the vein of the narrative games of the Hong Kongers than the neo-realism of Hous 80s films and Taipei Story (although Hou will head more…
An excellent entry point to the cinema of Edward Yang - a perfect marriage of the Asian melodrama and the kind of directorial sensibilities one would normally expect from a European auteur.
some of yang’s most relatable characters yet while also unmistakably mirroring the protagonists of this film’s predecessors (taipei story) and successors (a brighter summer day & yi yi); i particular enjoyed the depiction of the female perspective in this one.
it’s the same meticulously-tied knot of an interwoven narrative that comes terribly yet neatly unraveled at the end of every yang film, it’s the reason every one of his films demands a rewatch, and it’s why i can’t bear to give any of them less than a rave review. yang is truly matchless in his perfectionist vision as well as execution. my favorite director — criterion please tell me you’re working on the full yang set!!
Complex but never confusing: Yang keeps us one step ahead of his doomed characters most of the time, which adds to the feeling of watching an accident in slow motion, while juggling narratives that affect each other without ever truly intertwining - each point of connection little more than a catalyst to ruptures that would eventually happen one way or another. Every attempt at making sense out of these coincidences is either dismissed or outright punished.
as taipei story, boring and beautiful. story was not exceptional but beautifully shot. asian urban life is aesthetic.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I've talked briefly and vaguely about Edward Yang's form system in the last two movies but here it just codifies so seamlessly with the dramatic world on display. Obviously there are a lot of characters here and the film is novelistic in its action but not in its words, the way film looks when it most closely resembles literature while transcending that medium. Much like the way Eisenstein outlined the comparison between the way Dickens would set up a scene from line to line and the way Griffith would do the same thing from image to image. The images in The Terrorizers are so complex that I have a weird hope that Yang only plots them out to the extent…
Fotografiar aquello que aún no está y que solo fotografiándolo existe. Taipei extrañada llena de comas llena de marcas de llanta y suicidios. El verbo aquí no es habitar sino errar.
fucked up good i love when a movie pays off now can we please get the characters a goddamn therapist!!!!
Las secuencias finales son maestras, pero mi favorita es el discurso de la escritora mirando a la cámara cuando decide separarse de su esposo.
Double Feature with Seth Henrikson’s Pottersville.
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