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That Day, on the Beach
(Hai tan de yi tian)

Video introduction by actor David Mao
Directed by Edward Yang.
With Sylvia Chang, Hsu Ming, Lee Lieh.
Taiwan, 1983, DCP, color, 166 min.
Mandarin and German with English subtitles.
DCP source: TFAI

A renowned young pianist, Tan Ching-Ching (Terry Hu) comes back to Taipei for the first time in thirteen years to give a performance. An old friend, Lin Jia-li (Sylvia Chang), gets in touch with her to reconvene over an afternoon coffee. That Day, on the Beach takes place over a conversation between the two female friends, during which Ching learns about how the romantic and domestic life of Jia-li and her elder brother evolved over the past decade. Through complex flashbacks, the microcosmic personal life is revealed to be closely interwoven with the drastic economic and social changes that Taiwan witnessed over the entire 70s. Full of subtle narrative and cinematic surprises, the film explores the difficulties that accompany freedom, love and trust; in staging the fragility of any sense of facile contentment and hope, it makes visible the pleasure and pain entailed in one’s pursuits of happiness. The film also marks the debut of Christopher Doyle as a cinematographer, best known for his collaborations with Wong Kar-Wai. Released in Taiwan four decades ago, Edward Yang’s first feature’s length, storytelling, and formal ingenuity all speak to his unwavering will to uphold his artistic vision despite all obstacles.

Part of film series

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Chronicles of Changing Times. The Cinema of Edward Yang