(K’ung-pu fen-tzu)

New Digital Restoration

  • Introduction

    Andrew F. Jones is professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Chinese in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department, UC Berkeley.


Cora Miao, Lee Li-chun, Chin Shih-chieh, Wang An,

Ostensibly inspired by a documentary on a German terrorist group, Edward Yang’s third feature instead discovers, hidden within the stillness of human emotion, a terror far more brutal than any moment of physical violence. Bookended by images of guns and corpses, the film’s true focus is on the violence enacted in everyday relationships, whether between lovers, coworkers, or strangers. The narrative weaves intricately between three scattered groups of characters: a doctor and his novelist wife, a mopey woman hoodlum, and a love-struck photographer, all threaded together by one prank phone call and a sense of deceit and lingering entropy. For Yang, the film “is built rather like a puzzle; the spectator can rearrange it in his head when he gets home.” It is the inescapable feeling, not the telling, of the story that matters. Indeed, the gunshots at the beginning and end seem interchangeable, almost anticlimactic, rendered quaintly obsolete by the film’s painstakingly traumatic layering of human relations and their emotional violence. 

Jason Sanders
  • Edward Yang
  • Chang Chan
  • Mandarin
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • DCP
  • 105 mins
  • Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute
  • Fortune Star Media Limited

Event Accessibility

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