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The Essentials: Yi Yi (2000)

Each member of a middle-class Taipei family seeks to reconcile past and present relationships within their daily lives. (NR, 173 min.)

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Sunday, March 5, 2023

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Monday, March 6, 2023

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The Essentials: Contemporary Asian Cinema
Free for Members


The extraordinary, internationally embraced Yi Yi (A One and a Two . . .), directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-age father NJ’s tentative flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, the filmmaker deftly imbues every gorgeous frame with a compassionate clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century. [Criterion]

Starring: Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Issei Ogata
Director: Edward Yang
Languages: Japan, Taiwan
Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Music

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"Generous, soulful film."

— Manohla Dargis, L.A. Weekly

"A marvel of delicacy and humor."

— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"Great, bittersweet family drama."

— Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"Chances are, you'll watch most of it with a smile on your face, and you'll miss these characters when it's over."

— Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle

"Yang favors a gentle and introspective style that shows how deep and strong everyday emotions can run. A memorable treat."

— David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

"In its low-key way, Yi Yi presents an intelligent, profound and at times heartrending slice of Taiwanese middle-class existence."

— Jonathan Foreman, New York Post

"The one movie so far this year that every filmgoer should see, if only to get a big dose of what we've been missing from Hollywood."

— Michael Atkinson, Mr. Showbiz

"An amazing experience: as if a TV soap opera, packed with the usual catastrophes, were done with unaccustomed depth and real storytelling genius."

— Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune

"One of the year's best: a rich, funny, enormously humane portrait of a middle-class Taipei family in the throes of romantic, economic and spiritual upheaval. [2000]"

— David Ansen, Newsweek

"Wise, delicate and impeccably performed, Yi Yi is a three- hour drama that looks at one middle-class family in transition -- and does so with such a kind and probing eye that we all see our lives reflected through Yang's lens."

— Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle

"It's a magical film -- an exquisitely made and exceedingly wise family drama that communicates a touching sense of the universality of the human condition, and leaves us with the rich emotional satisfaction we just don't seem to get often at the movies anymore."

— William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"A humanistic masterwork. The film’s brilliance emanates equally from its structure (the story is delicately bookended by two cultural rituals: a wedding and a funeral), the acuteness of its gaze, and Yang’s acknowledgement of life as a series of alternately humdrum and catastrophic occurrences, like a flower that blooms in the summer and wilts in the fall; he hopes you will notice it, because seeing is what validates its unique extraordinariness."

— Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine