The Terrorizers ★★★★½

The gorgeousness of the Blu-Ray print of this only makes me more depressed about the terrible condition version I watched of Taipei Story.

Of the handful of 80s Taiwanese New Cinema films I've seen (just these two Yangs and the Hous), this one I think comes the closest to the more or less contemporary Hong Kong New Wave, two, in most respects, very distinct film movements. The youth could fit easily into the worlds of Patrick Tam's Nomad (the photographer) or Tsui Hark's Dangerous Encounters (the prostitute), while the meta-literary/cinematic twists are much more in the vein of the narrative games of the Hong Kongers than the neo-realism of Hous 80s films and Taipei Story (although Hou will head more in this direction in the 90s, I don't know about Yang, I haven't seen anything from the time between A Brighter Summer Day and Yi, Yi yet).

Early in the film there's a gorgeous series of shots set to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", the same song used to great effect 20 years later in Hou's Three Times. It makes me wonder if the 1960s section of that film was meant as a Yang homage and not a Wong Kar-wai one (as it is frequently compared to). Also it made me imagine Hou and Yang, sometime around 1983, hanging out at Yang's house at three in the morning, drinking beer and chain-smoking and listening to The Platters on repeat.

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