Yi Yi ★★★★½

Yi Yi is a film about an upper middle class Taiwanese family and their everyday ups and downs ... a description that does little service really, but I suspect that this is one of those films you just have to see. Like some Ingmar Bergman or Woodie Allen films, it introduces you to average but interesting people and then steps back and lets life happen. Director Edward Yang occasionally reminds us that we are not actually with these people (quite a few shots are in mirrors or through windows with strong reflections of the world outside), but I'm not really sure if this is done to distance us, or to remind us that they are a small part of a much larger world, or dimply as an artistic conceit.

It's not a short film by any means, and those accustomed to a faster pace and a lot of action may find themselves a bit restless... but there are rewards for the patient. There's is a lot to take in here, and in the end we come to realize that a normal family with normal problems is anything but dull.

Even the little eight year old boy is absorbed in his own search for understanding and finding his place in the world, and the method is touchingly profound (for a child at least)... during a discussion with his father it occurs to him that everyone has but half a life since we all only see what is in front of our eyes, not what's behind us. His solution is to take photographs of the backs of the heads of all the people that are important to him, so that they can see what they are missing. Which is exactly what this film does... what we see onscreen is the unseen portion of our own lives, the part that we probably overlook or take for granted.

Bob liked this review