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Quingmei Zhuma | Edward Yang,
Taiwan | Format: 35mm | 105 minutes
Arguably the most penetrating of Yang’s many studies of the changing face of 20th-century Taiwan, Yang’s second feature uses a single troubled relationship as a window on to a nation that is evolving faster than many of its own citizens can keep up. Yang’s close friend and fellow New Taiwanese Cinema maestro Hou Hsiao-Hsien (who also mortgaged his house to finance the film) stars as Long, a once-promising baseball prospect who has returned to Taipei from the United States to run his family’s textile business. The film opens with Long moving into a new apartment with his girlfriend, property developer Chin (Tsai Chin), but while these two may live together, it soon becomes clear that they inhabit different worlds—Long pining for a past that no longer exists, while Chin sees the city’s rapid transformation as a prime opportunity to advance her career. As they drift further apart, Yang frames the drama in precisely calibrated compositions of urban anonymity.