Buttressed between two milestone events within their personal sphere, the lives of the Jians - husband and wife N.J. and Min-Min, teenage daughter Ting-Ting, and eight year old son Yang-Yang - and to a lesser extent that of their broader grouping of extended family and friends, are presented. The Jians live in an upscale apartment complex in Taipei along with Min-Min's mother, who has fallen into a coma, each family member who takes turns by her bedside to relay life's goings-on to her regardless of if she can hear them. While Min-Min has troubles with this on-going task, the other three use her as an unofficial sounding board for their issues, primarily in the realm of finding their place in current life and their role in her predicament. Yang-Yang still has a child's simple perspective of the world, such as the reason he has a penchant for taking photographs of the back of people's heads, that naiveté exactly the reason he is the target of bullying especially among a group of older ...Written by
Ranked number 25 non-English-speaking film in the critics' poll conducted by the BBC in 2018. See more »
Daddy, you can't see what I see and I can't see what you see. So how can I know what you see?
Good question. I never thought of that. That's why we need a camera. Do you want one to play with?
Daddy, can we only know half of the truth?
What? I don't get it
I can only see what's in front, not what's behind. So I can only know half of the truth, right?
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This movie is a beautiful piece of art. Every shot of the movie is like a painting in its own right. Hats off to cinematographer Wei-han Yang for getting so many splendid images on film. From his serene reflective shots against a city nocturnal background, to innovative bird eye-view shots, to neat mirror shots, to the perspective of the bedridden grandmother in a coma, to cars passing by in front of the actors, to gorgeous corporate buildings... everything on camera was meticulously thought out.
Director Edward Yang uses this visual candy diligently and incorporates it nicely into his narrative. His script is very poetic and allows for a lot of reflective pause... which is, you've guessed it, supported by silent stunning images. The characters feel very real and their problems and concerns move us. The little boy is simply adorable and his perspective on life is quite refreshing. The dialogue is rich and intelligent and if you listen carefully you'll understand why this movie is so long... But the length does not drag the movie. Rather it allows us to think and to appreciate. There is enough material in this movie (both words and images) to have anyone musing for days if he so desires.
The ending of the movie is very well done and you don't really know if you feel like laughing or crying at that point, but you certainly know that you have just witnessed an amazing movie, a movie without proper description. Because like Yang chose to do, I should just be silent and let you enjoy.
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