Edward Yang

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Calvin
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Re: Edward Yang

#176 Post by Calvin » Sun Dec 06, 2020 3:30 am

Wu Nien-Jen also directed A Borrowed Life, which Martin Scorsese thought to be one of the best films of the 1990s but seems to have scant availability and no legitimate home video release in print.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: Edward Yang

#177 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:28 am

whaleallright wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 2:49 am
He doesn't have a major screenwriting credit since 1998. IMDB says he's working in (I presume Taiwanese) TV. Anyone know what he does there? I have a vague recollection of reading that he hosted a talk show....
He started a talk show in the mid-2000s, but also had a documentary series that ran for over a hundred episodes where he traveled around Taiwan to chat with people and explore various aspects of the local culture. (He started a new series this year that seems to be more or less the same thing.) The talk show was different from usual examples of the genre in that the interview subjects were typically "common people," like fast-food workers, bank tellers, cram-school tutors, etc. He also directed a seven-hour documentary series on Taiwanese democratization and civil society.

Outside of that, he's done a lot of work in advertising as both behind and in front of the camera (which landed him in trouble a few years ago when a cooking oil he endorsed was implicated in a food safety scandal) and has written stage work for the theater company where he serves as artistic director. The playwriting has apparently been his main creative focus and he doesn't seem to miss working in film that much; in one interview he says the industry is too dominated by commerce and that he would rather take the money required to make one film and make ten hours of a TV series instead. He also writes non-fiction books (including a sort of impressionistic memoir published last year structured around food) and pops up for occasional "special guest" appearances in movies and TV shows.

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swo17
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Re: Edward Yang

#178 Post by swo17 » Sun Dec 06, 2020 9:59 am

Thankfully my old Terrorizers Blu-ray doesn't seem to have any playback issues, but is there another compelling reason to replace it with the 30th anniversary edition?

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hearthesilence
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Re: Edward Yang

#179 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:03 pm

Calvin wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 3:30 am
Wu Nien-Jen also directed A Borrowed Life, which Martin Scorsese thought to be one of the best films of the 1990s but seems to have scant availability and no legitimate home video release in print.
I was lucky enough to have seen this, and only once, and it was through Scorsese's own personal 35mm print which he leant to a program he curated for Lincoln Center.

As discussed elsewhere, it's pretty alarming when as late as 2013, a revered masterwork like Hou Hsiao-hsien's Xìmèng rénshēng (which isn't that old) only had ONE English-subtitled print that was known exist, and it's especially frustrating when Bard College and other exhibitors had to go through ridiculous bureaucratic gymnastics just to get it screened (and to my understanding copied for safety). So with that in mind, it's very possible Scorsese has the only English subtitled print of A Borrowed Life currently in existence. It's really messed up how distribution for so much of the Taiwanese New Wave has been hampered by similar problems.

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zedz
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Re: Edward Yang

#180 Post by zedz » Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:30 pm

Another fascinating tidbit regarding Yang's construction of screenplays (from the interviews in one of the extras on one of the Taiwanese issues of one of his films - can't remember better than that, sorry!) is that he would get his collaborators to write out multiple possible variations on the story, depending on what choices characters made at particular times, so that the final version of the screenplay would represent a single pathway through a complex matrix of parallel universe possibilities which had been thoroughly mapped out before the final plot was decided. Given the subtlety and complexity of his plotting, this is very easy to believe.

I'm largely on board with most of the criticisms of Mah Jong - it's definitely the problem child in his output - though I think the disdain for the characters is pretty well split in gender terms. I don't think Wu's criticisms apply to A Confucian Confusion at all. It's a screwball comedy, and the crazy, associative plotting (which, under closer examination, is rock solid) comes with the territory. It's a film that I liked well enough on video but - like Tati's Playtime - it's a film that roars to life with a live, laughing audience.

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whaleallright
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Re: Edward Yang

#181 Post by whaleallright » Sun Dec 06, 2020 6:42 pm

There's a subtitled DVD of Wu's A Borrowed Life "out there" (as they say) with good picture quality. It looks to be in 1.66; don't know if that was the theatrical AR. Not that this makes the likely absence of decent prints defensible, but at least one can see it. The only digital transfer of The Puppetmaster that appears to exist (or that has made it beyond the confines of an archive) is horribly cropped at 1.33 and doesn't look too great to begin with.

The restoration/distribution situation with the Taiwanese New Wave films was absolutely dire as of 20 years ago. Some of these films were little but rumors at that point. I remember reading Jameson's (godawful, but famous) piece on The Terrorizers and nobody could tell me where to find a copy of the movie; I watched Dust in the Wind on a dupey VHS from Facets. The situation has improved quite a bit since then, albeit almost entirely for the work of two directors, and mostly for the films produced by the CMPC. (I remember that Sinomovie DVD set of Hou's early films being an absolute godsend.) What I don't understand is why the distribution of some of the "restored" Blu-Rays is so piss-poor. Extremely limited quanties, hard to find resellers; they've been a blink-and-you-miss-them affair. That's not a problem if more American and European companies decided to release versions of the restorations, but that's happened quite sparingly.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: Edward Yang

#182 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:44 pm

The subbed DVD of A Borrowed Life is a fansub/bootleg of the Japanese release, Japan being probably the main foreign market for Taiwanese films (and the subject matter of that particular film making it an especially good fit). There are also of course the lucky handful of Taiwanese directors who have been able to tap co-production funds from Japan, mainly Hou; Yi Yi was Yang's only such film, originating as part of a planned series from Pony Canyon about "great Asian cities" or something like that, which fell through in part due to the financial crisis in the late '90s. (One other projected entry—Iwai's All About Lily Chou-chou—was eventually revived and shifted from its original Taiwanese setting to Japan.)

There's always been a lot of speculation and hearsay about dubious mob-linked financial arrangements keeping Taiwanese films out of circulation and I don't want to completely rule that out, but one thing that's clear is that almost every private company in Taiwan that was making films prior to this century either closed its doors long ago or exists only as a holding company that might not have any elements or prints. In one case I've encountered, the producer/distributor of a fairly major film from the mid-'80s (which hasn't produced or distributed anything in years) had no copies of the film except an old Betacam master, and the only 35mm print I could find was an archival copy that couldn't be screened. The CMPC was owned by the Kuomintang and somewhat insulated from the market forces that devastated the Taiwanese film sector in the '90s and early aughts, but even it staggered into the new century focusing on low-budget productions, got sold off by the KMT at a below-market-value price in 2005, was gutted by the new owners who immediately resold what was left, then went dormant until 2010 due to a management dispute. The Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute has been around in various guises since the late '70s, but it's only within the last decade that it's had to resources to act as a kind of one-stop shop for classic Taiwanese cinema, not simply preserving films but also digitizing and restoring them and disentangling rights issues.

EDIT: Just occurred to me that this is roughly the same thing that happened in South Korea, where the Chungmuro-based producers and distributors collapsed in the '90s, paving the way for conglomerates like CJ and Lotte to move in. Without the Korean Film Archive, the number of pre-2000 Korean films on Blu-ray would be close to zero.

Calvin
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Re: Edward Yang

#183 Post by Calvin » Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:31 am

Image

Novamedia's release of The Terrorizers will be available to order on January 29th.

derekbd
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Re: Edward Yang

#184 Post by derekbd » Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:10 am

Apparently there will be no listing on Novamedia's site until January 27th. That's when it will be available to pre-order. Please let me know if I have that correct.

Since I just watched Terrorizers on a previous blu, I don't think I'll be purchasing this, at least not anytime soon.

I have joined the site and purchased Taipei Story, which is a film I like immensely. I've seen it via the Criterion Scocese's World Cinema bluray, but I'll be very glad to have a standalone release of the classic film. Plus I'll find out what Novamedia's releases are like, and determine if the cost is justified, in regard to future purchases. (The shipping charge is what really puts the total cost beyond what I would normally be willing/able to pay.)

Thank you, Calvin, for letting me know about the site.

Calvin
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Re: Edward Yang

#185 Post by Calvin » Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:13 am

derekbd wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:10 am
Apparently there will be no listing on Novamedia's site until January 27th. That's when it will be available to pre-order. Please let me know if I have that correct.
The listing is up but there won't be a pre-order button until January 29th

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Never Cursed
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Re: Edward Yang

#186 Post by Never Cursed » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:18 am

A 148 minute episode of an anthology series written and directed by Yang has been uploaded onto YouTube by its owners. English subs don't exist for it yet, but they have supposedly already been commissioned. Per an interview with Yang, the series is called 11 Women and Yang's 1981 film (which he refers to as his first and as "student work") is called Duckweed

derekbd
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Re: Edward Yang

#187 Post by derekbd » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:39 am

English subtitles... have supposedly already been commissioned


Thanks for the info!
Where did you read that English subtitles have been commissioned?

Calvin
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Re: Edward Yang

#188 Post by Calvin » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:56 am

I don't have the ability to scan bitrates etc. but the transfer on Nova's Blu-Ray release of The Terrorizers seems consistent with some impressions of the older Taiwanese disc that I've seen on here, with some really terrible macroblocking in darker scenes. It's not entirely surprising, as Nova are known to use the same encodes as other releases (I'm fairly sure it's all above board, considering they're one of the most high profile Korean labels) but it's a shame as the one review I can find of the French release makes that one sound like a winner.

I've got no idea why there hasn't been a US or UK release of the CMPC restorations in the past decade, particularly as there seem to have been digital-only releases of The Terrorizers in both territories by 'AsianCrush' and Mubi respectively but hopefully there will be a more definitive English-friendly release in the future. God knows this film deserves it.

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swo17
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Re: Edward Yang

#189 Post by swo17 » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:10 pm

I don't know where else this That Day, on the Beach Blu-ray might be available, but I saw it on eBay a few weeks ago, took a chance on it, and got it in the mail today. It seems to be a legit 2021 re-issue of CMPC's prior, long OOP release. (Didn't that come in some kind of limited edition heavy packaging? This one is just in a slim but handsome digipak with a sleeve.) I've only sampled the disc so far but PQ looks good and there are English subtitles (or as the menu screen says, "Englisg"). In any case, great news if this is back in print again!

Image

cowboydan
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Re: Edward Yang

#190 Post by cowboydan » Fri Oct 15, 2021 7:35 pm

It's quite possibly the same disc as the limited edition, just in different packaging. If it looks like this disc, then it probably is:

Image

It's also available for purchase here (not cheap): https://www.yesasia.com/us/that-day-on- ... /info.html

I have the limited edition. It's a thick mediabook that is taller, wider, and thicker than a standard DVD case. It's filled with stills from the film (and maybe promo/behind the scenes ones too?) on thick paper pages. There are a few pages of texts in Chinese. I can't tell if they're info, interview, or maybe artifacts from the film's world. There's also a postcard of the characters at a wedding. I don't remember there being any extras on the disc aside from maybe a trailer and/or clip about CMPC restoration.

I'm glad it's back in print, even if it's expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if Nova Media in Korea were to release this sometime soon. They seem to be releasing as much Yang as they can get their hands on.

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swo17
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Re: Edward Yang

#191 Post by swo17 » Sat Oct 16, 2021 2:30 am

Yes, my disc looks identical to that. It also comes with two thick collectible photos, though neither matches the image you posted. And I paid about what yesasia is charging

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