Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 10, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Yi Yi (A One and a Two)

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
173 minutes
Limited Release Date
10/06/00
performer
Jonathan Chang, Elaine Jin, Wu Nianzhen, Issey Ogata
director
Edward Yang
Producers
AtomFilms, Nemuru Otoko Seisaku Iinkai, Omega Project, Pony Canyon Inc.
distributor
Winstar Cinema
author
Edward Yang
genre
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it an A

In Yi Yi, three generations of the middle-class Jian family go about the business of everydayness in high-rise Taipei: A wedding runs less than smoothly. A stroke fells Granny. An accidental flirtation with his old sweetheart upends the placidity of a middle-aged man’s marriage. A runty boy conducts an experiment, photographing the backs of people’s heads. Everywhere in this beautifully understated drama, the blessedness of ordinary people, as individuals and bound in clans, is knowingly, movingly conveyed.

The title of Taiwanese filmmaker Edward Yang’s subtle epic — a ”soap opera” that’s the opposite of soapy, for which Yang won the directing prize this year at Cannes — comes from the Chinese word for ”one.” And the English-export translation ”A One and a Two” gives a good sense of the movie’s gentle, dancerly lilt (these 173 minutes don’t drag, they waltz); it also suggests the director’s interest in the tensions between personal desires and group will. Yang (renowned for his 1991 critical favorite A Brighter Summer Day) moves so naturally and unshowily from character to character that each gets to come alive, but if there’s a showstopper, it’s young Jonathan Chang as the little picture-snapper, Yang-Yang. Like the filmmaker, the boy’s got a lovely gift for capturing what’s important, and forgiving what’s not. A

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST