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Terroriser, The

Kongbu fenzi

Set in modern-day Taipei where the only constants seem to be ennui and police sirens, The Terroriser is constructed around everyday acts of betrayal. A diffident, self-absorbed novelist coolly dismisses her lover and her husband with the same line; the husband, an ambitious executive, turns in his best friend in a desperate bid to get a promotion; a young hoodlum amuses herself by placing prank ‘phone calls that turn people’s lives upside down. The film’s sparse style and seemingly disconnected narrative (which reflects the characters’ disassociation and makes the film almost unbearably intense) established modernism as a force in Taiwanese cinema. As critic Tony Rayns has noted, ‘the film suggests that we all have our ways of ‘terrorising’ each other, and that we’d all like our lives to be as coherent and resolved as fiction. Yang reaches high, and his aim is true.’
Taiwan, 1986.
English subtitles.
Colour.
109 mins.

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