Each member of a middle-class Taipei family seeks to reconcile past and present relationships within their daily lives.Each member of a middle-class Taipei family seeks to reconcile past and present relationships within their daily lives.Each member of a middle-class Taipei family seeks to reconcile past and present relationships within their daily lives.
Losing director Edward Lang recently (he died in 2007) was hard on the film world in general, as well as on Chinese language films with an international reach. And "Yi Yi" is a great, offbeat and yet accessible, likable film. What happens is very simple--an extended family is portrayed over several months as they enter relationships and life takes its usual tragic-comic toll. In a way, nothing in particular happens. There is no grand focus to the film in the usual sense (a murder, a love affair, a business deal gone wrong) but instead all of these things happen and overlap.
Some viewers will surely find it too dull and slow to withstand, but most viewers (the majority) once you give it a chance, will find the humanity bracing, the honesty of the acting and the writing (also by Lang) alive and well. It is filmed with straight forward storytelling expertise, but it is paced and edited with a higher order of intelligence. The sequence of disparate events, as young and old people fall in love and have close calls with death, is meshed together with intuitive brilliance.
It might somehow not be a great film. It might lack the larger turning point drama to make it stand out and make a viewer stand up. But it's a quiet, almost magical film with terrific acting. Maybe the largest thing I took away from it is how universal people's activities are. True, this is Taiwan and not mainland China, so things are more Westernized, but we can identify with everything so acutely it's quite amazing. A gem of a film, too long, but still a gem.
- Sep 26, 2010