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That Day, on the Beach

Haitan de yitain

Shot by Chris Doyle (Wong Kar-wai’s regular cameraman), this contemporary epic about the position of women in Taiwanese society helped change the face of Taiwanese cinema. Two women, Lin Chia-li (superstar Sylvia Chang in a breakthrough role) and Tan (Teresa Hu), meet after many years. Tan, a famous concert pianist, was once engaged to Lin Chia-li’s brother, but parental opposition broke up the romance. Lin Chia-li, on the other hand, defied her parents and married for love. As in Yang’s other films, the characters are paralysed by the conflicting forces of modernity and tradition, a battle that wages both outside and within them, especially in the case of Lin Chia-li. Her rejection of a tradition she saw as oppressive has only left her feeling strangely empty, and she’s unhappy in her marriage. For many critics, That Day, on the Beach is the widest ranging look at what it means to be a woman in Taiwan. The subtlety of Yang and his leading actress Chang merge together to form an irresistible emotional force. Taiwan, 1983.
English subtitles.
Colour.
167 mins.

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