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A Confucian Confusion

Duli shidai

‘It’s a dangerous time for emotion,’ says one character early on in the film, but the twenty-something denizens of A Confucian Confusion are completely incapable of suppressing their emotions or their greed. Sleek, chic and hysterical, the film owes more to Preston Sturges than Michelangelo Antonioni, though all the characteristic Yang themes are present. This time, however, there is a more luxurious feel to the proceedings and Taipei has a vibrant, cut-throat glamour that it lacks in Yang’s earlier work. The film’s thesis stated by an overly earnest, struggling writer is that if Confucius returned to contemporary Taiwan, everyone would adore him, primarily because they consider him an influential and powerful fraud. And fraudulence is the norm: so-called artists have more in common with businessmen and even the sweetest, most straightforward characters cannot trust themselves. While Yang pillories literally every character, he is clearly sympathetic to the dilemmas they face.
Taiwan, 1997.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby stereo,
127 mins.

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