Critics Hail a Newly Restored Taiwanese Masterwork

A cornerstone of Taiwanese cinema, Edward Yang’s 1985 sophomore feature, Taipei Story, makes its U.S. theatrical premiere today at Brooklyn’s BAMcinématek. Screening in a new 4K restoration undertaken by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, this slow-burning portrait of urban alienation unites Yang with fellow New Taiwan Cinema master Hou Hsiao-hsien, who delivers an emotionally nuanced performance as a washed-up baseball player confronting his fading dreams of emigration to the U.S. and his strained relationship with an ambitious career woman (pop star Tsai Chin). Now that it’s out, the film is getting its belated due, and critics are raving: over at the Village Voice, Melissa Anderson explains how the film evokes “an unstable, overwhelming present” through an elegiac tone “supple enough to accommodate offhand humor and moments of pure pleasure”; and at the New York Times,  Glenn Kenny hails Yang’s filmography as “one of the most vital in all of cinema,” noting the director’s “knack for making the banal look uncanny.” Those in New York who can’t wait to see Taipei Story in our World Cinema Project box set coming out this May should head to Brooklyn for the rare chance to catch this long-unseen masterpiece on the big screen. Film lovers who live elsewhere can check back here for updates on where the film is headed next.

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