I finally found a film society and rushed to it in the right time for the screening of the taiwan movie 'Yi Yi - A one and a two' by Edward Yang.To be honest , the movie was too long for an audience brought up on Indian cinema. In retrospect, we find out that the length was one of the key ingredient of what the movie portrays - Life.
So, where do i start to explain a movie about life, that too when the director tells it in the simplest of ways, if i try to retell it, it will be more complex and spoil the fun. I shall only to refer to the points where the director's ghost seems to be wandering around the characters and makes his presence felt subtly but so strongly, that the dialogues would only become proverbs in your life.The indispensible character in the director's endeavour turns out be the 8 year old kid, who drops words of wisdom with sweet innocence, be it asking his father "Why do we always know half the truth, we can only see whats in the front, we cant see whats behind at the same time". The best piece though, that had a loud applause from the audience is when the kid hands over a photogragh to his Uncle,picturing the back of his head and when asked why is he giving it to him, he replies in a saintly manner, wrapping himself in towel, "You cant see it yourself, i am trying to help you". Moments like this are sprinkled all over the movie, just when you start to yawn at the boring rituals of life intertwined with the inevitable complexes of the characters , the director makes you sit up with these subtle charges of dialogue.
It seems as if the director literally possessed the character of the Ting-Ting's boyfriend when he is discussing movies and says "My uncle says that , with movies , we live our life three times over". Thats when half the audience will be woken up to the fact that their life also would seem the same if presented through flickering frames. A Grandmother in coma as a sounding board for the characters is such an original experiment to pull the audience towards the characters.
The character development is so well done that the audience is set at the centre of a circle that the characters traverse only to come back to where they started and realise the futility of their internal struggles with guilt and mournful retrospections of lost opprtunities.Husband reliving his youth and realising that he is still restricted by the same fears and apprehensions.And its an experience to see his life intercut with his daughter's first date.
All in all, the movie is the directors signature on every frame, that for me is one of the most important thing in any movie,because in cinema, one man's command on his art becomes fountainhead of creative excellence of a larger number, i.e the cast and the crew.
Yi Yi is a movie which you shouldnt expect to entertain you or for that matter make you feel sad or make you laugh, you are not supposed to like it or hate it or judge it in any extent when you are watching it, you are only supposed to live it with the director and it will stay with your memory for a longer time.