a young Asian man talks in a phone booth with colorful reflections of lights on the glassalr

Taipei Story
(Qing mei zhu ma)

Directed by Edward Yang.
With Tsai Chin, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Ko I-Chen.
Taiwan, 1985, DCP, color, 110 min.
Min Nan, Mandarin and Hokkien with English subtitles.
DCP source: Janus Films

Lung (Hou Hsiao-Hsien), an ex-Little League baseball player, runs a fabric store in Dihua Street, a traditional commercial center in the west of Taipei. His long-term girlfriend, Ah-Chin (Tsai Chin), in contrast, works an assistant to the manager at an architecture firm in the newly developed East District. The film centers on the increasing estrangement between the couple as well as the widening gap between a commercialized corporate world and a nostalgic world of traditional values. The striking visuals of Taipei’s city space parallel the quietly stormy vicissitudes emanated from the spiraling disillusionment, distrust, disappointments and discords in the psychical space of the city’s inhabitants.

The shape of this film’s production epitomizes the camaraderie between the artists leading the Taiwan New Cinema, as Hou Hsiao-Hsien not only acted a major part in the film, but also mortgaged his own house to get funding for the production costs. Edward Yang deliberately chose nonprofessional actors for the major roles. The remarkable performances from both Hou and Tsai bring to light, in somber melancholy, the uneasy, if not tragic, strain in the inescapable disharmony between obligation, desire and reality.



Part of film series

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Chronicles of Changing Times. The Cinema of Edward Yang

Other film series with this film

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The Taiwan Stories of Edward Yang and Wu Nien-jen