Edward Yang: A Retrospective
Six meticulously restored masterpieces by the prominent Taiwanese New Wave auteur, an insightful look at the modernizing Taipei and its inhabitants. This is the master’s first retrospective in Poland.
Edward Yang’s retrospective is the highlight of this year’s Five Flavours. For decades, he was known as a key representative of the Taiwanese New Wave and a master of world cinema but – strangely enough – he is still waiting to be fully discovered. The program was long in the making, as Yang’s films were being digitally restored. Now, for the first time in Poland, we can present his retrospective to the public.
Edward Yang shows the world of the upper-middle class in Taipei – the city he portraits as conflicted, chaotic, filled with chance encounters and surprising coincidences. New skyscrapers contrast with makeshift houses, extreme materialism coexists with a deep longing for the sense of belonging, American restaurants and clubs go hand in hand with traditional stalls offering cheap, local snacks. In every one of his films, Yang focuses on the images of modern love and the hope for happiness in the world of illusion.
Even though Yang had a deep connection to Taipei, thanks to their cosmopolitan, urban character, his films defy the expectations and definitions of national cinema. “I have always considered art and cinema not as functions of nationality, but of humanity. Films provide us with experiences closest to those of real life.”
The program of the retrospective includes six unique titles from Yang’s filmography – from his flashback-driven debut, a deep insight into the psyche of the protagonist (“That Day on the Beach”), through tragicomic stories filled with small acts of violence, class inequalities, and odd relationships (“Taipei Story,” “Terrorizers,” “A Confucian Confusion”), to epic sagas, presenting total panoramas of the fragments of the past and present-day Taipei (“A Brighter Summer Day,” “A One and a Two”).
In the past, Edward Yang’s films were only available on copies with low sound and image quality. In recent years, they were digitally restored by Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute. In November, the Polish audiences will have an opportunity to see the results of the restoration and to admire Yang’s films and the full richness of their detail.
The retrospective of films by Edward Yang was co-financed by Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, in cooperation with the Taipei Representative Office in the Federal Republic of Germany, Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, and Kaleidoscope Pictures.