5.0, Hong Kong/China

Yi Yi

2000 / Edward Yang > Yi Yi is loved for the same reason it isn’t perfect: For three hours, Yang meticulously orchestrates the lives of a middle-class Taiwanese family through everyday trials and tribulations, both simple and complex, but ends without a proper conclusion. Generally, this does little but to anger the viewer who’s given up 180 minutes of their life, but as the credits roll, a feeling comes over that contradicts such expected notions.

Beautiful and easing, Yi Yi is full of warmth while staying true to the crass happenings of life. In some ways, it’s just easy to watch—there are no fancy editing techniques or climactic sequences, but even in its calm demeanor, the film commands attention throughout. As a character says, “films let us live three times,” and in that vein, we are able to connect to others and empathize about the richness and hope of living. It’s a must-see for those who’ve been turned off by Tsai (and to some degree Hou) to once again believe in the future of Taiwanese cinema, while at the same time coming to appreciate the loss that Yang’s death earlier this year has caused to the film world.