Each member of a family in Taipei asks hard questions about life's meaning as they live through everyday quandaries. NJ is morose: his brother owes him money, his mother is in a coma, his ... See full summary »
This story takes place in a small town on the Hungarian Plain. In a provincial town, which is surrounded with nothing else but frost. It is bitterly cold weather - without snow. Even in ... See full summary »
Taipei. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2000, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao. She's young, lovely, and aimless. He's a slacker. Cigarettes and ... See full summary »
Based from true story, primarily a conflict between two youth gangs, 14-year-old young boy's girlfriend conflict with the head of the gang for unclear reason, until finally there was a painfully incident.
When a well known businessman goes missing, owing $100m to Taipei's underworld, two hoods decide to follow his son, the leader of a youth gang. A small group of trendy foreigners gets caught up in the action.
Each member of a family in Taipei asks hard questions about life's meaning as they live through everyday quandaries. NJ is morose: his brother owes him money, his mother is in a coma, his wife suffers a spiritual crisis when she finds her life a blank, his business partners make bad decisions against his advice, and he reconnects with his first love 30 years after he dumped her. His teenage daughter Ting-Ting watches emotions roil in their neighbors' flat and is experiencing the first stirrings of love. His 8-year-old son Yang-Yang is laconic like his dad and pursues truth with the help of a camera. "Why is the world so different from what we think it is?" asks Ting-Ting. Written by
Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the ten best pictures of 2000 (#7, tied with The Virgin Suicides (1999)). See more »
Why is the world so different from what we thought it was? Now that you're awake and see it again... has it changed at all? Now I've closed my eyes... the world I see... is so beautiful.
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"Yi yi" is a lovely film, pulsing with warmth and humanity. It tells the story of a Taiwanese family coping with the everyday fears and anxieties of which life is made. In the end, the movie suggests, there are no trivial moments in our lives, even if they seem so at the time -- any one person's life is an accumulation of both the trivial and the significant. What makes it worth getting out of bed every day is the fact that we will never live a day exactly like the one before it.
The structure of "Yi yi" mirrors its theme -- the film is a gradual accumulation of quiet moments that build toward something deeply moving. We watch the father of the household reconnect with an old flame, only to see his disappointment when the realities of his past don't match his idealized memories of them. We watch the mother battle depression and the overwhelming sense that she lives day to day doing nothing with herself or her life. She seeks meaning by leaving her family to spend time at a religious commune, but she learns that the answers she's looking for aren't to be found there. We watch the adolescent daughter timidly flirt with sex and dating, a young girl only beginning to unearth the complexities of what it means to become an adult. But my favorite character is the 8-year-old son, who takes pictures with his camera because he wants to show other people what they're not able to see for themselves. He's a little boy who is old enough to understand that there are things he can tell people that they don't already know, but he's too young yet to know how to communicate those things. One has to wonder if this character is the young alter-ego of the film's writer and director, Edward Yang.
"Yi yi" isn't flashy. It doesn't intertwine all of these characters' story lines with clever narrative sleight of hand; it doesn't pile coincidences on top of coincidences like these multi-narrative ensemble films frequently do. It's not histrionic, and it doesn't build to some overheated climax. It's not interested in doing any of those things. It unfolds the way life unfolds, and it makes us deeply care about these people, and even makes us love them in a way, flaws and all. It reminded me very much of an Ozu film, with its static camera that chooses to sit back and observe rather than tell us how to feel.
"Yi yi" feels like a modest work of art while you're watching it, but it lingers in the head and its power builds the longer you have to muse over it. It's the kind of movie I have a feeling we'll look back on in twenty years and recognize as a masterpiece.
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