Arthouse1981-1990AsianEdward YangTaiwan

Edward Yang – Kong bu fen zi aka The Terrorizers (1986)

The lives of anonymous strangers become intricately intertwined in this 1986 effort by late Taiwanese auteur Edward Yang. Following the sudden death of his superior, a doctor frames his colleague in order to succeed as the clinic’s director. The doctor’s writer wife, meanwhile, is experiencing a mid-life crisis, struggling to finish her next novel while surrendering to the advances of an ex-boyfriend. Elsewhere, a hippie photographer randomly snaps a delinquent girl escaping from a crime scene and becomes obsessed with her. The girl is locked up at home by her mother, and begins making random prank calls, which in turn affect the lives of the doctor and his wife.

The collage of chance encounters in The Terrorizers vividly portrays the degenerating psychic life of the Taipei city dwellers through disjointed narrative and multiple storylines. Set for brief moments against an eye-catching poster of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? on the wall, the irony constructed by Yang turns out to be all the more poignant, considering how his quiet characters never really speak up amid their simmering rage, before boiling over completely. Similar treatment is given to the film’s supposedly dramatic plot elements, such as extramarital affairs, police raids and violence, which are delivered with unusual calmness and tranquility.

As with many other examples of Taiwanese New Wave cinema in the 1980s, The Terrorizers realistically records the people’s private sentiment at a specific moment of Taiwan’s rapid socio-economical transformation. Nevertheless, the film’s depiction of the experience of urban ennui and desperation remains largely universal. No matter how one sees fit to interpret the film’s double endings, Yang’s vision of urban life looks all but doomed. The director once explained that this is essentially one tragic ending – that somebody would inevitably be hurt – told in two different ways. For a bleak story narrated without any comic relief, it is a fitting conclusion that is at once profound and disturbing.

2.68GB | 1h 49m | 1024×576 | mkv

Language(s):Mandarin, Min Nan

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button