Yi Yi ★★★★½

Yi Yi is a quiet storm, an emotional roller coaster, and Asian cinema at its absolute finest.

Yi Yi tells a poetic, compelling and heartwarming tale of a Taiwanese family in distress dealing with existential crisis. Despite its challenging 3-hour runtime, Yi Yi seldom overstays its welcome, as director Edward Yang knows when to add plot twists and hilarious gags to shake things up. Yang intertwined multiple threads of narrative into a subtle yet allegorical fable that is both a celebration and lamentation of our mortal existence. Yang's fluent camerawork, well-crafted angles and stylish long takes also help to bring out the artistry value of the movie. The documentary-like narrative and little usage of score adds so much realistic touches to the story everyone can get a slice of his/her own life experience through this offbeat kaleidoscope of life. All cast members are memorable enough, with the child actor playing the constantly bullied, philosophically-minded and aptly-named Yangyang being the absolute standout. What I like the most about Yi Yi is its larger-than-life and extremely quotable dialogues throughout the movie as characters ponder the meaning of life through their mundane life experiences, which adds so much coolness and relatability to the overall understated and highbrow tone.

Yi Yi is a true masterwork from the late Edward Yang, who died seven years after this movie's release. It's a love letter to Taiwan, and a deeply personal meditation on the meaning of human existence and the fragility of family life. It may require some level of patience but it's well worth every minute. Highly recommended.

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