Taipei Story (Qing mei zhu ma) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Taipei Story (Qing mei zhu ma) Reviews

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April 14, 2019
Taipei Story with a reference to Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story in the title translated in English credited as one of the first films of Taiwanese New Wave cinema. The original title is literally translated as "green plumbs and a bamboo horse" and used as idiom related to the metaphor of game when children ride sticks pretending this is a horse. This title is a better fit for the film, as the connection between Ozu's film and Taipei Story is nothing but irony. Though, the final film of Yang Yi Yi resembles the family dramas Ozu did.

In Taipei Story, Yang casts another prominent Taiwanese New Wave cinema director Hou Hsiao-Hsien as a former baseball player Lung and Yang's future wife Tsai Chin as Chin. Chin used to be quite a successful corporate office worker before she lost her last job. She always stays independently not relying upon her father who is the lazy troubled businessman. Taipei Story shows Chin's weakness in an affair with Lung who is seeking himself. Lung lives in the past dealing with the old memories from times when he was a player and had another affair with a Japanese woman. He is not able to get over the middle age crisis and keeps making irrelevant decisions in business and private life. Lung helps his friends and troubled Chin's father lending him money to pay back to loan sharks, yet he doesn't do much for his own life or happiness of his girlfriend.

Lung and Chin frequently think and talk about a possible move to the United States which might let them start a new life. They really want it, but remain unable to make a step towards it due to Lang inability to look into the future and act. After some time, Lung starts seeking excuses saying neither any move nor marriage will solve their problems and change anything. Lung's life becomes more and more aimless, while Chin loses the hopes for living a better life and professional advance. The situation puts a test on the characters' relationships they cannot pass. The disaster and tragedy in their story become inevitable.

The most impressive aspect of the story is its visual style. The usage of unfurnished apartments, offices and alienated urban landscapes is a great illustration of emptiness embedding the protagonists. In his second feature, Edward Yang also appears to be a solid visual master showing great work with lights. The clarity of visual style, emotionally charged close-up and stylish looks and cuts are really impressive. The film might be not so moving, but the story is brilliant in its poignancy and bleakness.

Casting other famous directors from Taiwan in his films becomes a common thing for Yang with Taipei Story. Apart from Hou who produced a great performance, in Taipei Stroy, we also see Wu Nien-jen who would later appear in Yang's Mahjong and magnum opus Yi Yi.
October 6, 2017
Every character's input serves to feed the past that Chin and Lung cannot let go of, inspiring a void with one veiled atrocity at a time.
½ September 5, 2017
Filled with stunning compositions loaded with symbolism and meaning, this film is much richer than what it appears on the surface. Performances are okay (Tsai Chin is surprisingly good), but it's really the shots, editing, and visual yet elliptical storytelling that do the heavy lifting.
August 9, 2017
20s Taiwanese want to go back to 1985 after watching...
½ July 23, 2017
9 9 9 8 8 8 8 8 9 8 = 84
March 20, 2017
The leading actor's picture posted here is a wrong person. Tsai Chin is not Zhou Tsai chin.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2012
Phantasms of the past invading the present realm with its armies of melancholy, solitude, even metaphysical elements disturbing inner peacefulness, all of this presented in broken relationships, untied emotional bonds of a reality that is no more, against a urbanized backdrop of technological and microeconomic changes. I can't ask for anything more: my introduction to the well-respected Edward Yang was a complete emotional experience.

Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2012
yang's elegy for lost youth. wonderful storytelling and a touching performance by fellow director hou hsiao-hsien in the lead role
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2011
A bit rough around the edges and with a rather typical 'new wave' stylistic approach (elliptical storytelling, silences with 'meaning', focusing on boring everyday-life activities etc.). It anticipates the beautiful 'A One and a Two' in which this style of filmmaking has matured to a considerable degree. The thematic core of the two films seem to be the same also; the unfulfilled dreams in a life that covers everything under its dust of boredom and routine, and the failure of human contact in the modern city landscape.
January 5, 2010
A very well crafted and important film
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2009
It doesn't infiltrate the instincts and yet,it meticulously progresses in an atomic bomb of emotions,Yang sweeps the field of urban melancholy,hiring Hou in an unconventional role,the circle of defeat is imminent and what's left is struggling to survive,amidst affairs,friends,nightclubs,shattered dreams...
April 16, 2009
I've waited 15 years to see my second Edward Yang movie, and it was well worth the wait. The first, "A Brighter Summer Day," was a strange dose of unsentimental nostalgia that looked back from 1990 to 1960. "Taipei Story" is set in present-day 1985, but the outlook's similar, or maybe even darker, still sensitive to what makes the time exciting, but with no illusions about the underlying brutality. And, of course, the photography is stunning from beginning to end.
August 28, 2008
Never trust a group of youths dancing to Kenny Loggins.
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