Lessons From the School of Inattention: Oggs’ Movie Thoughts

That Day, on the Beach (1983)DIR: Edward Yang

There’s an impressive sequence in Edward Yang’s debut feature That Day, on the Beach wherein we see Jia-li (Sylvia Chang), who is trapped in an unhappy marriage, stuck in an elevator with another woman. The woman, dressed in fiery red compared to her dull black, is the paramour of her husband De-wei (David Mao). The scene is tightly shot: Jia-Li is seen in the foreground and through the elevator’s mirror, we see the paramour. The motionless scene is followed by their confrontation: the husband, who is abroad for business reasons, has switched their letters and the paramour is returning the letter to her while revealing her secret love affair with Jia-Li’s husband. The confrontation retains the quaint and relaxed atmosphere. You can tell that the sequence is simmering with repressed emotions but nothing is ever let out. Life continues on, in a constant state of melancholy.

 

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