July 2, 2007

Edward Yang, 1947-2007

Filmmaker Edward Yang, one of Asian cinema's true auteurs and the father of New Taiwanese Cinema, died Friday at the age of 59 from colon cancer. There is a nice piece in remembrance of Yang over at the Village Voice. At the time of his death, Yang was working on an animated film budgeted at $25 million called The Wind, which would have curiously pared him with Jackie Chan. Many have noted that Yang was severely underrepresented here in the West. If one considers the gulf between talent and recognition, then he might be the most unjustly underrepresented filmmaker of all time. Though I have not had the chance to see all of Yang's films, I have seen what I believe to be his undisputed masterpiece, A Brighter Summer Day. A staggering, honest and beautiful work, an intimate epic, it is one of the best films of all time. If ever you get the chance to see it (most likely at a film festival) do not hesitate. One of the great tragedies in cinema is that this film, along with much of Yang's work, isn't widely available on any home video format. Fortunately, his final film Yi Yi, which won the Best Director prize at the 2000 Cannes film festival, is available on a fantastic DVD from Criterion. If you haven't seen this film, and even if you have, I urge you to go watch it.

Obituary @ New York Times
Obituary @ Variety Asia
A Fantastic Analysis of Yang's Work (Senses Of Cinema)
An Analysis of A Brighter Summer Day (Strictly Film School)

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