Using the sights, sounds, and surfaces of a modernizing Taipei as his material, Edward Yang fashions his first masterpiece Taipei Story (1985), a piercingly insightful, multifaceted portrait of a relationship unraveling.
Lung, a washed-up baseball player turned fabric salesman (played by fellow New Wave director Hou Hsiao-hsien) returns from an extended American business trip to find himself drifting away from his long-term girlfriend Chin (Tsai Chin), a well-to-do executive assistant in property development. As Chin works to pay off the mortgage to her new apartment, their upper-middle-class lives begin to unravel; money is not as flush as they thought, family pressures begin to mount, and Lung’s nostalgia for his baseball days begins to weigh him down.
Yang weaves together his delicate, entrancing narrative through carefully-observed details, an assured eye for visual compositions, and subtle mastery of offscreen sound. The tapestry that emerges captures not only the complexities of a strained relationship, but also of a city and a society in the jaws of an “economic miracle”.
-Written by Kevin Dong