Archive for June 29th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Taiwan 2000 173m) DVD1/2

Aka. Yi Yi

Talking to grandma

p  Shinya Kawai, Naoko Tsukeda  d/w  Edward Yang  ph  Yang Wei-Han  ed  Chen Bo-Wen  m/art  Peng Kai-Li

Wa Nien-Jen (NJ Jien), Elaine Jin (Min-Min), Issei Ogata (Mr Ota), Kelly Lee (Ting-Ting), Jonathan Chang (Yang-Yang), Adriane Lin (Li-Li), Chen Hsi-Sheng (Ah-Di), Ko So-Yun (Sherry), Hsiao Shu-shen (Hsiao Yen), Hsin-Yi Tseng (Yun Yun),

Our alphabetical journey now takes a second brief stop, for three hours at least, at the Edward Yang station.  It’s the last time we will visit here.  Had I listed the film by its original title – by which it is equally well known in the US – it would come much closer to the book’s end which, in some ways, wouldn’t be inappropriate.  Yang’s masterpiece is a film about looking back; in fact it’s about looking full stop, but especially, in the mind of the principal character, it’s a ruminative, melancholy work whose levels slowly reveal themselves upon future viewings.

            When his mother-in-law has a stroke soon after her son’s wedding and falls into a coma, NJ Jien’s life slowly begins to unravel.  His teenage daughter is experiencing love for the first time, his infant son is withdrawing more and more into himself and is only happy when he has his camera with him, while his wife cannot cope with her mother’s coma, and goes away to a mountain retreat for spiritual rest.  At around the same time, while trying to drum up business for his flagging computer firm, he meets the first love of his life whom he hasn’t seen in nearly three decades, now married and living in Chicago.  The meeting serves to put in focus thoughts about what might have been. (more…)

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