Edward Yang's early work is as powerful and inspiring as his later works and it deserves as much recognition and worldwide appreciation as A brighter summer Day(1991), Yi Yi(2000) etc.
A story of two school friends meeting and sharing their journey on how they became what they are and not just being centered around the two leads but also everyone they met during that time provides one of the best examples of character study in cinema.
It might not be a Taxi driver or a Fight club but it doesn't fall behind those movies in any aspect. Everyone has their own struggles, they might not show it but they are struggling everyday to be what they are and have an identity of themselves.
As the film progresses the story of the two female leads also develops, Yang carefully uses camera angles and colour tones help in setting the mood of the scene, the smooth and calm soundtrack also helps in conveying the mood of the situation.
Yang's directing style of telling the story non-linearly and going back and forth various years even decades was a bold step yet rewarding and The hairstyle of the protagonist in every time-period helps the viewers keep track of the timeline easily.
It's a simple story that might happen to anyone of us yet it is powerful enough to keep us seated for its durtion on our seats and enjoy every new developments in the lives of the leads.
Edward Yang is no doubt the master of human emotions which is even evident from the fact that we as viewers too care less about what happened at the beach that day as Jia-li.