Aug 3, 2009

9th August 2009; Yi Yi - A one and a Two

Yi Yi
A One and a Two
A film by Edward Yang
Year : 2000
Country : Taiwan
Mandarin/Taiwanese with English sub titles
Runtime: 173 min
9th August 2009 ; 5.45 pm
Call : 97904 57568

The movie is a portrait of three generations of a Taiwan family, affluent and successful, but haunted by lost opportunities and doubts about the purpose of life. Only rarely is a film this observant and tender about the ups and downs of daily existence.
The hero of the film is NJ, an electronics executive with a wife, a mother-in-law, an adolescent daughter, an 8-year-old son and a life so busy that he is rushing through middle age without paying much attention to his happiness. He's stunned one day when he sees a woman in an elevator: "Is it really you?" It is. It is Sherry, his first love, the girl he might have married 30 years ago.
The movie is about the currents of life. But it's not solemn in a Bergmanesque way. NJ and his family live in a riot of everyday activity; the grandmother in a coma is balanced by Yang-Yang dropping a water balloon on precisely the wrong person. Some scenes edge toward slapstick. Others show characters through the cold hard windows of modern skyscrapers, bathed in icy fluorescence, their business devoid of any juice or heart.

The characters in "Yi Yi" live in a world that would be much the same in Toronto, London, Bombay, Sydney; in their economic class, in their jobs, culture is established by corporations, real estate, fast food and the media, not by tradition. Maybe the movie is not simply about knowing half of the truth, but about knowing the wrong half of the
Edward Yang, the Taiwanese filmmaker who wrote and directed this intimate epic of a middle-class Taipei's family's everyday struggles, knows that for a movie to be full of life, it must above all concern itself with specific lives. "Yi Yi" begins with the chaotic bustle of wedding preparations , a portrait of the bride and groom is hung upside down, the groom's jilted girlfriend arrives uninvited and makes a scene , and ends with the somber calm of a funeral.

Yi Yi is the work of a master in full command of the resources of his art. He uses the limitations of visual perspective to convey chaos without succumbing to it. "Yi Yi" was named best film of the year by the National Society of Film Critics.

Edward Yang

1947 - 2007

Edward Yang is in the intriguing position of being one of the most gifted, and least seen, filmmakers in the world, at least for American audiences. His films express the confusion, anxiety, and sheer beauty of societal transformation. Yang also equates the macrocosmic and microcosmic, making the lives of his characters stand in for the greater, less visible processes of social change. Along with Hou Hsiao-hsien and Tsai Ming-liang, Yang is one of the most visible faces of the Taiwanese New Wave, possibly the most brilliant filmmaking movement in the world today.

Edward Yang was born in Shanghai in 1947, and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. After studying Electrical Engineering in National Chiao Tung University, he enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Florida, where he received his Masters Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1974. [2] During this time and briefly afterwards, Yang worked at the Center for Informatics Research. Yang always had a great interest in film ever since he was a child, but put away his aspirations in order to pursue a career in the high-tech industry. Also, a brief enrollment at USC Film School after graduating with his M.S.E.E. convinced him that the world of film was not for him - he thought USC film school's teaching methodologies were too commercial-oriented. Yang then applied and was accepted into Harvard's architecture school, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, but decided not to attend. [3] Thereafter, he went to Seattle to work in microcomputers and defense software.

While working in Seattle, Yang came across the Werner Herzog film Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972). This encounter rekindled Yang's passion for film and introduced him to a wide range of classics in world and European cinema. Yang was particularly inspired by the films of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni (Antonioni's influence has shown up in some of Yang's later works). He married Taiwanese pop-singer and music legend Tsai Chin in May 1985. They divorced in August 1995, and he subsequently married concert pianist Kai-Li Peng.

Yang eventually returned to Taiwan to write and direct films. To watch Yang's work was to see the world through the eyes of a man who delighted in children, who sympathized deeply with the passions and burdens of teenagers, who wrestled with the demands of adulthood, and who was pained by the dehumanizing effects of progress and the big city. His movies focused on Taiwan, but they were not primarily about Taiwan. They were about humankind.

Yang died on June 29, 2007 due to cancer.

(Source : Internet)

1 comment:

Imperator said...

'Yi Yi - A one and a two' by Edward Yang.

To be honest , the movie was too long for an audience brought up on Indian cinema. In retrospect, we find out that the length was one of the key ingredient of what the movie portrays - Life.

So, where do i start to explain a movie about life, that too when the director tells it in the simplest of ways, if i try to retell it, it will be more complex and spoil the fun. I shall only to refer to the points where the director's ghost seems to be wandering around the characters and makes his presence felt subtly but so strongly, that the dialogues would only become proverbs in your life.The indispensible character in the director's endeavour turns out be the 8 year old kid, who drops words of wisdom with sweet innocence, be it asking his father "Why do we always know half the truth, we can only see whats in the front, we cant see whats behind at the same time". The best piece though, that had a loud applause from the audience is when the kid hands over a photogragh to his Uncle,picturing the back of his head and when asked why is he giving it to him, he replies in a saintly manner, wrapping himself in towel, "You can not see it yourself, i am trying to help you". Moments like this are sprinkled all over the movie, just when you start to yawn at the boring rituals of life intertwined with the inevitable complexes of the characters , the director makes you sit up with these subtle charges of dialogue.

It seems as if the director literally possessed the character of the Ting-Ting's boyfriend when he is discussing movies and says "My uncle says that , with movies , we live our life three times over". Thats when
half the audience will be woken up to the fact that their life also would seem the same if presented through flickering frames. A Grandmother in coma as a sounding board for the characters is such an original experiment to pull the audience towards the characters.

The character development is so well done that the audience is set at the centre of a circle that the characters traverse only to come back to where they started and realise the futility of their internal struggles with guilt and mournful retrospections of lost opprtunities.Husband reliving his youth and realising that he is still restricted by the same fears and apprehensions and wife submitting to spirituality to escape life.And its an experience to see dad's life intercut with his daughter's first date.

All in all, the movie has the directors signature on every frame, that for me is one of the most important thing in any movie,because in cinema, one man's command on his art becomes fountainhead for creative
excellence of a larger number, i.e the cast and the crew.

Yi Yi is a movie which you shouldn't expect to entertain you or for that matter make you feel sad or make you laugh, you are not supposed to like it or hate it or judge it in any extent when you are watching it, you are only supposed to live it with the director and it will stay with your memory for a longer time.