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Until now, I used to consider A Brighter Summer Day Yang's ultimate masterpiece, like everyone does. But after a total of nine viewings, I'm beginning to feel Yi Yi is in fact his very best film: thus, I'm beginning to feel Yi Yi is one of the greatest films ever made. I'm not really capable of articulating in meticulous detail why I feel that way, but the execution of its themes (art, life, capitalism, romance, modernity...) combined with the film's recurrent feelings of observation (thanks to the use of wide shots, telephoto lenses, and screens) and the extensive use of reflections of urban spaces betray, in my opinion, a much more mature and intelligent writer-director than the one that made A Brighter Summer Day. Yi Yi is, in short, a much more visual work than ABSD, and that surely reinforces in my eyes its higher place in Yang's filmography.
This is a film that I will probably hold dearly inside my heart until the day I die. Not only because it's just so fucking good, but also because the urban landscape, the south-east-asian faces, and the language that we mainly hear all bring back my Macau-based childhood. Yi Yi, despite focusing primarily on Taipei and secondarily on Japan, makes me feel I'm just a few inches away from reliving my past, as Macau is visually and aurally very similar to Taipei. And it is, indeed, a very beautiful past.