Two Taiwanese films make NYT's '25 Best Films of the 21st Century'

Two films from Taiwan make the New York Times' list of the '25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far'

Shu Qi and Chang Chen in scene from film 'Three Times' (Image from First Distributors)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Two Taiwanese-made films have made it to the New York Times' list of "The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far," including Edward Yang's (楊德昌) "Yi Yi" at 6 and Hou Hsiao-hsien's (侯孝賢) "Three Times" at 17. 

The New York Times' A.O. Scott describes the 2000 film "Yi Yi" (A One and a Two, 一一) as "A packed, enthralling three-hour chronicle of modern Taiwanese family life, 'Yi Yi' has the heft and density of a great novel."

Scott says taking the film in is more than the act of viewing, rather it is "something you experienced, as if you were one of the Jians’ Taipei neighbors."

Director of the Oscar-winning film "Moonlight," Barry Jenkins,  said he was partly inspired by "Three Times" (最好的時光), "I first saw 'Three Times' at the 2005 Telluride Film Festival, It was wonderful."

Jenkins then described how Hou's work goes beyond the confines of conventional cinema:

"Hou Hsiao-hsien is beyond cinema. I mean that not in the sense that his formalism is antiquated or de rigueur, but more to accentuate the synesthetic quality of his work. His craft is as evocative as any of the more brawny stylists we revere as auteurs, but the effect it arrives at is much more delicate, elusive by nature."

As for how "Three Times" influenced his film "Moonlight," Jenkins explained:

The structure of “Three Times” is the sole impetus for the structure of “Moonlight.” The source material the film originated from was not in triptych form. Beyond that, this idea of a delicate treatment of roiling emotions, of interiority translated through external imagery (and SOUND) rather than interior monologue, these things I kept in heart and head as “Moonlight” evolved into the film that it is.

Number two on the list, Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away," though a Japanese film, the Taiwanese town of Jiufen has been credited as being the inspiration for the animated movie's spirit world design.

The following is the films chosen by the New York Times as the top 25 of this century to date:

1. "There Will Be Blood," directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. 

2. "Spirited Away," directed by Hayao Miyazaki. 

3. "Million Dollar Baby," directed by Clint Eastwood. 

4. "A Touch of Sin," directed by Jia Zhangke. 

5. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu," directed by Cristi Puiu.

6. "Yi Yi," directed by Edward Yang. 

7. "Inside Out," directed by Pete Docter.

8. "Boyhood," directed by Richard Linklater.

9. "Summer Hours," directed by Olivier Assayas.

10. "The Hurt Locker," directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

11. "Inside Llewyn Davis," directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. 

12. "Timbuktu," directed by Abderrahmane Sissako.

​13. "In Jackson Heights," by Frederick Wiseman.

14. "L'Enfant," directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne.

​15. "White Material," directed by Claire Denis.

16. "Munich," directed by Stephen Spielberg. 

17. "Three Times," directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien.

18. "The Gleaners and I," directed by Agnès Varda.

19. "Mad Max: Fury Road," directed by George Miller. 

20. "Moonlight," directed by Barry Jenkins. 

21. "Wendy and Lucy," directed by Kelly Reichardt.

22. "I'm Not There," directed by Todd Haynes. 

23. "Silent Night," directed by Carlos Reygadas.

24. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Michel Gondry.

25. "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," directed by Judd Apatow.