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Old 05-12-2008, 07:17 PM
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traboule traboule is offline
tomate de la resistance
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Yi Yi
(2000, Nien-Jen Wu, Kelly Lee, Dir. Edward Yang)

Yi Yi is a film about a family in Taipei as they handle various personal crises, directed in a very naturalistic fashion by Edward Yang. There is the father, N.J., who struggles to hold on to integrity in the world of business and who also is sent quietly off-kilter by the unexpected reappearance of his first love. There is the wife, Min-Min, whose mother's stroke and subsequent coma spin her into a deep dissatisfaction with her life. The couple's teenage daughter, Ting-Ting, befriends her neighbor, another teenaged girl whose troubled and sordid home life end up tainting Ting-Ting's own life. And finally there is the intelligent and curious young son, Yang-Yang, who faces a mocking teacher and the bullying of older children. The film also encompasses the story of N.J.'s foolish brother, Ah-Di and the fall-out from his marriage to a haughty beautiful woman - a marriage that seems mostly due to her pregnancy.

The film is over three hours long but doesn't feel like it - each story feels like it was given the proper amount of attention and I was almost equally interested in all of them, though I was most moved by Ting-Ting's story. It's intriguing that each of the family ends up dealing with their respective burdens almost all alone and end up resolving them more or less on their own, separately. My favorite scene though involves Ting-Ting and her grandmother, near the end of the film: I cried.

Sometimes a film or book will affect me in such a way that when I step away from it and go into my regular life, I'll be hyper-aware of my actions and surroundings - as if my own world seems clearer and more in focus as a result of watching that film or reading that book. Yi Yi had that effect on me and I take it as a mark of how engaged I was in the film.

Yi Yi is a film that is full of poignancy and warmth, though it does not forget humor and the tang of bittersweetness and loss. It is many things: it is a wonderful film.


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