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.
For the capital of a country divided between unification and independence, any dream of panacea is eviscerated amidst disposable careers, vacuous friends and consumerist isolation in a cimmerian wasteland of modernization. All relationships are as vacant as the commodified walls of a rented working space. A jock is buried in impotent rage with no future while a nerd becomes fodder for the machine with no history.
'Look at these new cars, where did they come from?' Shattering, a great film from Edward Yang, my first exposure to his work and I am already seeing why people call him one of the masters. The attention to detail within subtle direction makes the emotions conjured by Yang overwhelming. HHH is great, I never thought of him as an actor but he does a fine job, but the city is the star of this one, really. 5/5