Yi Yi is a personal film directed by Edward Yang, who led the new wave of Taiwanese cinema in the 90s. It is no coincidence Yang Yang boy in the movie has his name, including him Trying to capture the “realities” around the camera lens. Yi Yi has much in common with Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander (Fanny and Alexander, 1982). This is also the final work of Edward Yang, before he died of cancer in 2007. And like the legendary Swedish director, he tries to reproduce his childhood experiences and draw conclusions about art. After a lifetime of work.
Story continues when NJ father on a business trip in Tokyo, have an appointment to see his former lover. They spend a week together, review the past, and find the answer to the unsuccessful past. Ms. Ting-Ting sank deep into the love triangle, but never found happiness, such as plant pots can not bloom. He broke all bankruptcy, debt, suddenly found a way out … Yi Yi started with a wedding, ended with a funeral, in the middle is a child born, suicide and murder. A life experience is divided equally between the characters, from children, teenagers, young adults, to old age.
Yi Yi’s story, if it’s a drama, would be dramatic. But in the view of Edward Yang, the events in the film happen calmly. Up to three hours long, Yi Yi has the atmosphere of a family documentary. If Bergman prefers surreal tricks, Yang is loyal to reality. He does not use a close-up in the movie, only using medium and full-screen. The frame of the film is like a different Yang Yang lens, but more color, scanned into the corners of the loved ones. Characters usually only appear in one corner, small and out of place, as their own.
If We enjoy “Yi Yi”, many of us will remember the famous phrase in Léon: The Professional (1994). When Natalie Portman’s little girl asked her neighbor, “When will you grow up, will your life be less painful?” “That’s it,” he replied. Is there any time in my life, that people enjoy complete happiness? Edward Yang, through Yi Yi and other films, has a similar point of view with Léon. No matter what age, people only know half the truth. And so, enjoy only half the happy part, if lucky.
Like the Western existential directors, Yang uses a virtual character in the film to voice this thought: Time. People imagine their lives into stages, thanks to milestones. In Yi Yi, the director put these landmarks together. The girl’s current love affair takes place at the same time as her father’s ex-girlfriend. They are past and future of each other. A boy born as his grandmother is dying, are the two ends of life. Between the journey, is full of joy, anger, love, smiles, broken dreams, missed opportunities, regrets … that any of us will also feel empathy.
The heart of the film is NJ, which is experiencing great turmoil, both at work and in the family. But first of all, he just folded his hands back, witnessing more interference. This is the time when he is forced to look back on the lost in his life. Many questions have been asked, such as from a Japanese friend during a drink: “Why are we scared the first time? Every morning is new. Every day is unique. I’m afraid to wake up? Why do we have to fear for the first time? “NJ just smiled, bowed not answer. It will be time to bow to the questions, because there is no answer. Only choices. As returning home is an option. Traveling with Sherry, her former lover, is another option.
Like NJ, all characters in Yi Yi have to choose. What made them interesting, and brought to the touching moments in the movie, is that they finally choose responsibility and confront the wind. When the hidden corners in their souls reveal, we do not hate, but cherish. The more difficult life, the values of love, family affection, the more sparkling. As for Edward Yang, his truth in the film is expressed through the dialogue of his boyfriend Ting-Ting: “Thanks to movies, we can live more lives.” Life and people of Taiwan Ever appeared so close and so lively, until I caught the lens of Yi Yi.