Yi Yi (2000) is Taiwanese director Edward Yang's seventh film, but his first to be released in the U.S., so unless you are able to attend a decent film festival, watching this on DVD will be your first chance to see one of his movies. And what a great movie Yi Yi (A One and A Two) is. The film is a subtle, profound, simple work of beauty that I loved!
Almost three hours long, Yi Yi attempts to capture every conceivable moment of living in a Taipei family: weddings, funerals, births, loves, loss, romance, murder and suicide. Every joy and pain of being a human being is woven into the narrative and casts a magical spell in its slow, steady pace by Yang.
Yi Yi tells the story of a single middle class family in Taipei by using multigenerational stories to show all facets of life. There is a curious and precocious 8 year-old boy named Yang Yang, a quiet high school daughter named Ting Ting and the father, NJ, is suffering from a mid life crisis. The story weaves mainly around these three and Yi Yi captures the complications of being in a family in a complete arc.
This is filmmaking at its most heartfelt and honest and I can't stress strongly enough how good Yi Yi is. In this day and age of wham bam visuals and rapid fire editing, Yi Yi has a patience that is refreshing and should be done in more movies. There should be a revolt against the cut-cut-cut short attention span idea of filmmaking!!! Why is it that so many Asian directors understand this and so many directors from other countries do not? Yang uses many effective long takes that make it possible to really get into the characters hearts and minds.
I said Yi Yi has a slowness to it but it is not slow. The three hours go by in a blaze because it is so engrossing and well done. Yi Yi isn’t in a hurry, it just goes onward, as life does. Yang won best director at Cannes for Yi Yi and it was well deserved. Yi Yi will make you love, cry, feel, laugh, and think as you watch it and it is highly, highly recommended.