LEO CHANJEN CHEN
THE FRUSTRATED ARCHITECT
The Cinema of Edward Yang
Winner of the best director award at Cannes in 2000—not always a favourable distinction—Edward Yang has gained a wide international audience only with his latest film Yi Yi. Outside Taiwan itself, his movies remain largely unavailable even on video. Not even an English-language essay of the fame of Fredric Jameson’s analysis of The Terrorizer, which Yang made fifteen years ago, has moved the philistinism of the distributors. In the West it is easier to see the work of his great contemporary Hou Hsiao-Hsien—paradoxically, since Yang’s cinema, always focused on modern urban milieux, is in many ways closer to the imaginary of Euro-American city life. Presumably part of the reason lies in Yang’s refusal to compromise with an ordinary requirement of success even in art-house circuits. His film language is dense and terse. But his narrative structures have always been of a remarkable ambition and complexity, regularly exceeding standard viewing lengths.
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