Edward Yang has died at 59
Posted By Jonathan Rosenbaum on 07.02.07 at 02:49 PM
First Ousmane Sembene, the father of African cinema, who passed away at age 84 on June 9, and now the Taiwanese master Edward Yang. We’re losing our giants.
Many of Sembene’s major literary works are out of print (including Tribal Scars, a wonderful collection of stories that includes “The Promised Land,” which his first feature, Black Girl, was based on; purchasing this essential paperback on Amazon now costs about $49). Only four of his ten features are available on English-subtitled DVDs, all of them recent releases. Even Black Girl, the one that still moves me the most, is available only in an imperfect copy. (The film’s color sequence, which I’ve never seen in color, is printed in black and white.)
The situation regarding Edward Yang’s films is even worse: only the last of his seven features, albeit one of the best, Yi Yi, is available on Amazon. The one I consider his greatest, A Brighter Summer Day (pictured) can be found extralegally or semilegally from at least a couple of different sources, as I explain in my current DVD column in the summer issue of Cinema Scope.