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Yi Yi (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi (A One and a Two . . .), directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang (A Brighter Summer Day), follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-age father NJ’s tentative flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, the filmmaker deftly imbues every gorgeous frame with a compassionate clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century.
Audio commentary by writer-director Edward Yang and Asian-cinema critic Tony Rayns
Video interview with Rayns about Yang and the New Taiwan Cinema movement
U.S. theatrical trailer
Original English subtitle translation by Yang and Rayns
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film writer Kent Jones and notes from the director
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Top Customer Reviews
The movie is rich with well developed characters and subplots that justify its three hour length. Yet in the course of all the seemingly tumultuous events that take place, little changes in the long term once the credits roll. But then, everything has changed; the movie begins with a wedding, tosses in a birth in the middle, and ends with a funeral. In between all these greater moments are the smaller though no less important things in life that almost every one of us can relate to at some level; love lost, regret, guilt, second chances, self-expression, happiness, sadness. The movies ambitions seem almost epic until you realize that there is nothing 'epic' about this family and its interactions. That is where the magic of this film really lies. Cultural differences don't matter here; you can always find a way to relate to Yang's characters through their common humanity. For many, we see emotional reservation, but Yang is able to expose even these characters through their confessions to their grandmother, who is comatose after a stroke. And then there is Yang Yang, the little boy of the family who is able to expose the nature of truth and exploration in a way only a little boy could.
I suppose that the thing that I enjoyed most about this film is that, even after seeing it a few days ago, I grow to appreciate it more, even as I write this review. Yi Yi is just an amazing film, perhaps the best ever made about a family, but to classify it as such is wrong. The movie is really a mirror; it is a beleivable, honest reminder of how life can be wonderful, and a pain, all at the same time.
There's the father, who's part of a major computer games business, who might go bankrupt unless they strike a deal with a company. The father, NJ, is faced with trust and honesty when he meets the Japanese owner of Ota, a games company. His friends are also thinking about meeting up with Ato, the copycat of Ota. His wife, is going through a mid-life crisis type situation. Her mother just had a stroke and has a coma. The doctor says that Grandmother can only hear what they say, but it will help her feel better. So, the wife is thinking that her life is empty and retreats to a peaceful mountain for answers. Their children are going through major changes too. The oldest daughter, Ting Ting, is learning how to love when her friend, Lili, dumps her boyfriend. When Lili's ex-boyfriend starts dating Ting Ting, she has to learn the consequences of breaking up. Her little brother, Yang Yang, is 8 years old and always getting into trouble at school. A girl at school is the object of his affections, and he learns too, about his first love.
This film can definitely change the way you perceive life. It did that to me too. Some people take things for granted. Yi yi is meant to be a movie about simplicity, and I think that's what it is.
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