Yi Yi: A One and a Two

Yi Yi

I have to apologize for yesterday’s little bit about Dead Man. That one was a bit longer than I anticipated. But most of yall know my rambling ways.

The first I heard of this movie was earlier this year. On the website They Shoot Pictures Don’t They, they have a list of the 21st century’s most acclaimed films so far as culled from year-end lists by film critics. Yi Yi (literally translated as One One) came just behind In the Mood for Love and Mulholland Drive. Much to my surprise I found that the San Pedro branch of the LA Public Library had the DVD. Sweet!

I had no idea what to expect from this movie. Unlike most films where I read about the plot, read reviews and what not, I didn’t do that for this one. All I knew what that it was supposed to be very long (almost 3 hours!!!) and very good.

And it didn’t disappoint.

At three hours it is an epic, but not in a Gone with the Wind or Godfather way. Yi Yi is an intricate tapestry of everything that tugs at us in our battles with the modern world. Director Edward Yang takes a portrait of an upper class Taipei family over the course of several months. It begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral. In between there’s a midlife crisis that sends the mother to the mountains to meditate with the Buddhists, the father exploring what would have happened if he didn’t dump the love of his life, the teenage daughter caught in a love triangle that ends in murder and the little son who is trying to figure out what the fuck life is about all the while being terrorized by an army of girls and the headmaster of his school.

There’s a lot of empathy in this movie which is really touching. By the end, I was amazed at how great it was all done. Not once did anything feel too hokey or too sentimental. Everything was balanced.

This is one of the best movies I’ve ever watched, and I do put it up there since 2000 with In the Mood for Love and Mulholland Drive both of which I love.