Casting Light on Taiwanese Cinema
At the turn of the century Taiwanese cinema had a moment, albeit a quiet one that the average American filmgoer probably missed.
Edward Yangâ€™s magnificent family drama â€œYi Yiâ€ was named the best film of 2000, in any language, by the National Society of Film Critics.
Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Tsai Ming-Liang, Mr. Yangâ€™s compatriots in the movement known as the Taiwanese New Wave or the New Taiwan Cinema, were at or near the peaks of their renown; Mr. Houâ€™s â€œMillennium Mamboâ€ and Mr. Tsaiâ€™s â€œWhat Time Is It Over There?â€ were both released in 2001.
That country was even represented at the multiplex, where â€œCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,â€ from the Taiwan-born Ang Lee, was becoming the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history. (Unless you count â€œThe Passion of the Christ.â€)