Yang was a fine director, but few subjects duller for me than urban angst. Yet how he adored it! It'd help if anyone in Taipei Story had personality - nope, all bored poker-faced mopers roaming through neon-lit tedium. Pretty empty. And ends with a killing, naturally. Of the four Yang films I've seen, three end with a quiet angry little guy killing someone with a knife - the fourth with a guy blowing his brains out.
Yang's formal and unwavering gaze follows the doomed fate of two characters navigating a cold, indifferent urban landscape in a world that seems to be always moving on without them. At one point, a character asks, "Is [drinking] your habit or your hobby?" In this light, what unfolds over the course of the film as a series of unconnected quotidian tragedies begins to look inevitable and fatalistic.
Digital 4K Restoration, Taipei in a film. Yang's attempt to formulate an all-around observation of the social deluge and distinctions in modernity as a whole, through the interlocking antithesis of class, generation, gender, and cultural penetration. " It is only a brief hope, and it will make you feel like a new start." (Lung on marriage, and America)
Of the four Yang films I've seen, this is loosest, but his loving eye comes through: actions that may seem paradoxical are instead human in a set of characters who have been deposited into adulthood and left to grapple with a mixture of indecision, insecurity, and regret. Note the bookended structure: empty rooms that promise a new life, but finally with a guarded distrust that the promise can be fulfilled.
A breathtaking and utterly controlled vision of divided social space, divided generational gestalt, divided cultural legacy, divided couples, and divided souls (the selves, here, are indeed perilously divided from themselves). A humbling level of stylistic / formal control and structural sophistication here, belying the fact that this is merely Yang's second feature proper. This is a bleak, high-impact knockout.
(Está disponible solo una pésima hasta donde sé). Sobre las fantasías y los posteriores desencantos. Dos personajes principales en la historia. Es la degradación personal al corriente con un nuevo cambio en Taiwan sobre la llegada de un nuevo orden económico. Un hombre aferrado a una cultura ajena (Yang vivió varios años en EEUU) y una mujer con un problema existencial que me recuerda mucho a Antonioni. El extravío.