Edward Yang’s dissonant, mysterious third feature Terrorizers (1986) charts the trajectories, near misses, and collisions between three sets of people in Taipei: a failing marriage between a struggling writer and her lab tech husband, a disaffected photographer, and a teenaged hustler involved with the criminal underbelly.
Opening with a shootout and a body lying dead on the streets, Terrorizers connects its storylines in an oblique, intuitive, and almost metaphysical way. What emerges is a vision of a society teeming the prospect of violence, in forms physical, emotional, and psychical. Released in 1986, at a moment of palpable political and societal upheaval (the twilight of a decades-long period of martial law), Yang embeds his narrative with sharp social commentary, presenting a society increasingly driven by self-interest, increasingly unable (or perhaps unwilling) to form connections with each other.
-Written by Kevin Dong