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 »
Lung, a former member of the national Little League team and now operator of an old-style fabric business, is never able to shake a longing for his past glory. One day, he runs into a forme... 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
Issei Ogata's English dialog was re-written and even improvised during the shooting by Ogata himself. Yang wanted to have his Japanese character speaking realistically, not in the stereotypical manner Japanese characters in English-speaking films often do. See more »
I'm sorry, Grandma. It wasn't that I didn't want to talk to you. I think all the stuff I could tell you... You must already know. Otherwise, you wouldn't always tell me to 'Listen!' They all say you've gone away. But you didn't tell me where you went. I guess it's someplace you think I should know. But, Grandma, I know so little. Do you know what I want to do when I grow up? I want to tell people things they don't know. Show them stuff they haven't seen. It'll be so much fun. Perhaps one day......
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Reflections multiply the beauty of this film beyond anyone's rating system
I'd love to do a systematic investigation of every reflective shot in this movie. I can think of 10 stunning examples off the top of my head. In the director's comments track on the DVD you can hear Edward get noticeably excited when another reflective shot presents itself on screen. He points them all out, and it's true that the shots do seem to present themselves to the director. Although you must assume he had something to do with them, he confesses that it was magic that he discovered when he got to the location. Neither he nor I can explain what effect the superimposition of a night cityscape on a dark office space has on our understanding of the emotional world of the character sandwiched between the layers of light.
It seems there is magic at work all around. But it is not magic at all, as we learn from Mr. Ota's card trick -- merely attention. Maybe it's the reflection's ability to split out attention out into many streams of thought and quickly focus it back down that gives his scenes their vertiginous exhilaration. How else to explain the rush one feels from looking at a completely static shot where you can barely make out the actors?
He set out to make a film about family but I think he discovered he also wanted to make a film about life in Taipei. The reflections are the device that lets him make two movies at once. I think that's what is most special about each reflective shot. It is the instantaneous visual realization of an epic goal, and a reminder to the audience of both themes working in the movie.
His assuredness and gentleness astounds me.
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