Edward Yang

Yang's first full-fledged feature film was "That Day on the Beach" (1983), a dark, brooding look at the relationship between two women. Their conversation at a bar frames an elaborate structure of flashbacks (and flashbacks within flashbacks) which probe their shared childhood and the choices that led one to a music career and the other to a more traditional role. Visually stunning and structurally complex, "That Day on the Beach" treats a number of issues which Yang would return to in subsequent films."Taipei Story" (1985) brought Yang--and Taiwanese cinema--world-wide attention. As in his previous films, the focus is primarily on urban women and their ability to adapt better than men to a society in flux. The new cinema's tendency towards literary adaptation forms a reflexive subtext for Yang's third feature, "The Terrorizers" (1986). A woman author is one of a number of characters around which Yang spins a fabric of intertwining narratives. The relationships among their stories develop slowly; some don't connect until near the end. The film's main concern is with the interconnectedness of modern life and how even random actions reverberate throughout society.Yang's visual and narrative style is among the most distinctive and spectacular in recent Chinese film. His films are quiet, slow, and use a minimum of dialogue. Western critics often invoke Antonioni, although Yang appears to resent the comparison. In Taiwan, where "different" is read as "foreign," his departure from the norms of classical style are considered a symptom of Western influence. The director, however, attributes his stark style to Chinese origins, particularly his early education in Chinese brush painting. In any case, Yang's films are passionately connected to place, as he consistently addresses the problems posed by modern Taiwanese life.