Taipei Story (1985), Dir. Edward Yang
A leading figure of the Taiwanese New Wave and a real master of the slow form, Edward Yang is one of the most distinctive voices to have ever graced world cinema. When he began his career in the 1980’s, Taiwan was a country in a state of flux, caught somewhere between tradition and modernity, in search of a new identity, but unsure of what they may look like. What’s so compelling about Yang’s films, is the way in which they grasp that sense of uncertainty, transpose it onto the characters, and ground it in their surroundings .
For Yang, that sense of isolation seemed intrinsically linked to the city, and more specifically, to the city of Taipei. You could say that his films deal with places, as much as they do people, using urban landscapes to frame characters in an introspective way, whether it’s a reflection in a high rise window, or a glimpse into the apartment next door. Nearly all of his films seem to highlight the way in which a city brings so many people closer together, only to keep them apart, and Taipei Story is a prime example.
Taipei Story is now playing on the Criterion Channel.