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A wedding and a grandmother's illness reveal fault lines in the lives of one Taipei family in Edward Yang's extraordinary film. Yi Yi is built from deceptively simple elements that together create a complex, warm, and utterly convincing portrait of family life. NJ Jian is a businessman facing bankruptcy, but he has to juggle his financial problems with family strife when his mother-in-law falls into a coma. NJ's wife, Min-Min, brings her mother home, and each family member--including daughter Ting-Ting and her delightful little brother Yang-Yang--spends hours talking to the old lady. These conversations become confessionals and the characters gradually re-evaluate their relationships. There are no catastrophic conflicts, only the ordinary, sometimes troubled, unfolding of lives. Yang enhances the film's sense of reality by frequently holding the camera back from the action. The use of long shots and unexpected angles makes it seem like the audience is eavesdropping, catching glimpses of lives passing by. Yi Yi is almost three hours long, but it flies by. Yang is both a consummate, restrained technician and a subtle director of actors. The combination is a magical one.

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CC339 Yi Yi DVD (1999/Edward Yang/Taiwan) $39.95 $35.99