Tuesday, May 31, 2011

YI YI (Edward Yang, 2000)

****½
Taiwan
A tender, meditative saga founded on an old-style melancholy humanism, it begins with a wedding, ends with a funeral and in between charts in novelistic detail the mostly internalised self-questioning of each member of a bustling extended family. It unfolds in generally quiet, reflective scenes observed from a respectful distance and in a visual style that is intricate and elegant without being showy. Edward Yang doesn't for a moment leave you in doubt as to his delicate and singular sense for the pain that accompanies the accumulation of wisdom. But he seeds in a couple of particularly piercing monologues, one roughly midway and one at the finale, that are overpowering beyond anything he has led you to expect.

Recently the film popped up on multiple Top 10s among the great films of the decade. And, well, it is.

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