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 »
Weronika lives in Poland. Véronique lives in Paris. They don't know each other. Weronika gets a place in a music school, works hard, but collapses and dies on her first performance. At this... See full summary »
A little girl, Mui, went to a house as a new servant. The mother still mourns the death of her daughter, who would have been Mui's age. In her mind she treated Mui as her daughter. 10 years... See full summary »
Tran Anh Hung
Tran Nu Yên-Khê,
Man San Lu,
Thi Loc Truong
Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and ... See full summary »
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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Yang Yang the boy character in the film takes pictures to help those around him see what they cannot, and Yang the director takes pictures to help us see what we usually do not - that every moment of life is beautiful, deep, wonderful, rich.
Yang masterfully uses the everyday things of life on a least two levels - the literal and the figurative - beginning with the title of the film, which means literally "one one" (in Chinese) or "individual", but is presented as a Chinese "one" on the screen, followed slowly by another Chinese "one" appearing on the screen below it, which then becomes "two". (In Chinese, one is a single line, and two is two singles lines, one above the other.)
We are individuals, together. Our lives involve us, and others. Our lives involve relationships, get their meanings from relationships.
Relationships like that of little boy Yang Yang's encounters with girls, violent at first as they poke him from behind (in the back of his head, where he cannot see), and he pops balloons in their faces, scaring them. And then as the electricity builds between them, between Yang Yang and the girl in his school, just as in the nature film in the science lesson presented in the audio-visual classroom, passion as an electrical spark comes to his life.
There is Yang Yang's sister Ting Ting in the school of life too, with her ever-present potted plant that cannot seem to bloom. In class, she is told that overfeeding can cause it not to bloom - and Ting Ting herself tries too hard to bloom, longing for "music in her life" as she listens to the concert duet played by a man and a woman while she glances at her date, the boy called "Fatty" - he is slim but does he dine too much at life's banquet? (That question is answered later, as violent storms - storms of love, of life - pass overhead, not expected again "until Thursday".) Ting Ting wears white, and could be at her wedding, but she is not.
Their dad, NJ, does manage to find the music of his life once again when he encounters Sherry, the flame of his youth. They take a train back into time they remember as simple and romantic, but the memories of the past veil the complexities that existed then, and now, for the two of them.
NJ's wife Ming Ming wishes to escape. Her work colleague Nancy asks her, "You're still here?" to which she replies "Where can I go?"
Indeed, where can we go? No, we must stay and wake up each day, and try to remember that each day is a first time, that we never live the same day twice, as enchanting Mr. Ota, NJ's potential business partner, reminds him, and us.
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