Thursday March 25, 2010 22:45

Movie #0018 – Yi Yi [A One and a Two] (2000)

Posted by Michael

Directed by: Edward Yang
Starring: Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Kelly Lee
First Viewing

Synopsis: A year in the life of a family in Taiwan.

This is a film that frequently pops up on “best of the decade” lists, so my expectations were fairly high. It’s nice to watch a well-regarded film that really lives up to its acclaim — it’s distressingly common to watch a movie that gets a lot of hype and then walk away wondering what all the hubbub was about (yeah, that’s right — I said hubbub. I like that word; people don’t use it enough). That’s definitely not the case here.

I won’t lie: this is not a fast-paced film, not even a little bit. Acclaimed (and tragically deceased) director Edward Yang’s style consists mostly of unusually long, wide shots, in which things tend to unfold at a slow, meticulous pace. The imdb claims that Antonioni is one of Yang’s favourite directors, which doesn’t come as a particular surprise as the two definitely share a lot of the same sensibilities. However, unlike Antonioni, who always keeps you at an arm’s length, there is a warmth and richness to this film that really draws you in. It’s very long and very slow, and yet you don’t really feel it. Also, unlike the cool, restrained characters of someone like Antonioni, the people here feel much more vibrant, with some scenes almost approaching melodrama, but never in a way that feels forced or artificial.

This is a long film — it’s almost three hours long, which on the surface is a bit daunting. But when you actually watch the movie you realize that the length is pretty much perfect. Yes, some of the scenes go on a bit longer than you’d think they would, but it all adds up to a film that is surprisingly compelling, and one in which you really get to know and like the central characters. Honestly, by the end of the film I would have been happy to spend another couple of hours with that family.

Buy the movie at Amazon

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