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Taipei Story

Edward Yang

Edward Yang’s second feature is a mournful anatomy of a city caught between the past and the present. Made in collaboration with Yang’s fellow New Taiwan Cinema master Hou Hsiao-hsien, who cowrote the screenplay and helped finance the project, Taipei Story chronicles the growing estrangement between a washed-up baseball player (Hou, in a rare on-screen performance) working in his family’s textile business and his girlfriend (pop star Tsai Chin), who clings to the upward mobility of her career in property development. As the couple’s dreams of marriage and emigration begin to unravel, Yang’s gaze illuminates the precariousness of domestic life and the desperation of Taiwan’s globalized modernity.

“Belying this political, cultural and economic jostling is a profound anxiety – for what Taipei and Taiwan should be, and for what human relationships should consist of. Yang’s haunting coda, drenched in simultaneous delirium and resignation, suggests no definitive answer.” – Senses of Cinema

“Edward Yang’s Taipei Story (1985) offers a classically Yangian portrait of Taiwanese alienation and quiet anxiety, fractured and plagued by modernization and Americanization, and starring co-writer Hou Hsiao-hsien… As always, Yang, whose second feature this was, shoots and cuts with a jeweler’s squint. It’s essentially perfect.” – Village Voice

“A stylish Antonioni-esque drama of urban alienation, set among the affluent Western-oriented professional class in newly modernizing Taipei and concerning an angst-ridden couple, played by Yang’s Taiwanese new wave colleague Hou Hsiao-hsien and the pop singer Tsai Chin, later Yang’s wife.” – New York Review of Books

“A masterpiece that historically hasn’t been easy to see in the States. A delicate work of low-key modernism, imbued with fragile melancholia and an astonishing turn by none other than Hou Hsiao-hsien in the male lead, the restoration of Taipei Story will likely go a long way toward reaffirming its rightful place as one of the key films produced in southeast Asia near the end of the 20th century, on a par with Yang’s towering (both in terms of stature and duration) A Brighter Summer Day (1991).”


  • 8/1 | 8:00PM
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