Sunday, July 15, 2007

Edward Yang: a belated RIP.

I didn't want to say anything about the terrible, untimely passing of Edward Yang on June 29 - after a seven-year battle with colon cancer - until I had a chance to rewatch his outstanding, international breakthrough film Yi Yi (A One and a Two), regarded by many as a masterpiece and sure to go down as one of the best films of this decade. It seems like I'm always saying I don't have time to review anything on this blog beyond a couple of paragraphs, and although that's lately been true, I would like to say something more in depth about this film at some point, since a simple description can't convey the deeply cinematic impact of this thoughtful, ambitious study of urban family life in Taiwan (full disclosure: I'm never actually going to get around to it). Unfortunately, this is the only Yang film available on dvd here, or indeed in much of the world, apparently, although maybe distributors will finally get a move on now that the Unintended Spotlight is shining. Criterion released a typically handsome and much-needed edition last year with an absolutely perfect cover (once you've seen the film, you'll know why) that I highly recommend.

And really, how can you not trust me after I proclaimed the Jodorowsky box set to be the release of the year back in January, despite the fact that I can really only recommend the symbolism overload of Holy Mountain? Yes, I'm backing off that claim now that I've come down from my pineal gland high, although I did finally get around to watching HM with Jodorowsky's predictably entertaining commentary and will soon do the same for El Topo. I lost count of the number of times Jodorowsky took credit for inventing or presaging some later trend or event in the film, everything from the internet to the Shining Path to rock stars wearing black nail polish. Just think if Cameron Crowe or somebody had ever filmed their own scene where an androgynous old man breastfeeds someone from two baby leapord heads on his chest. There'd be no end to his crowing (no pun intended).


Gina said...

what a tragic loss, 7 years old with colon cancer? So sad. I wonder what led up to that kind of illness. Not something you hear about in children that often..

Pineal gland high...intriguing. I have to look that up. Vague recollection of A&P, in the hypothalmus. Regulates all kind of appetites and temperature, sleep etc...hmmm

Chris said...

It was the director who died and had colon cancer for seven years. I ripped the pineal gland thing off from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and the pileal gland itself from... well, best not to go there.