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NJ Jian is a partner in a not very successful Taipei computer company. He lives with his wife, Min-Min, his mother-in-law, and their two children, 15-year old Ting-Ting and little Yang-Yang. NJ is heading for a mid-life crisis. Not only has his company reached a turning point, and he is involved in difficult negotiations with a Japanese games designer, Ota, but, at his brother-in-law`s wedding, he meets his first sweetheart, Sherry, now married and living in Chicago. When his mother-in-law collapses from a stroke, Min-Min leaves home to live temporarily in a retreat. Some time later, NJ meets Sherry in Tokyo. One of the most interesting aspects of Edward Yang`s great film is its universality; the Jian family are instantly recognisable, their problems common to all. The Shanghai-born, U.S. trained Yang has chronicled Taiwan`s middle-class since he began his career, but this is his finest achievement to date and despite its 3-hour running time, never feels over-extended. It`s a film based on minute observation, and like Jacques Tati, though in a very different style, Yang frequently keeps his camera at a distance from his protagonists to allow the viewer to observe the big picture. The film`s characters, with the exception of Min-Min, the mother who spends much of the film away, are beautifully drawn and what happens to them is often contrary to our expectations. There are some truly poetic scenes, like the one in which the 15 year old Ting-Ting imagines her beloved grandmother is still the way she used to be - and the film ends with a scene involving the little boy which is tremendously moving. Yi Yi is about all the basic things - birth, death, marriage, first love, illness - and it`s not only wise, it`s incredibly beautiful and flawlessly acted.

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2 hours 53 min

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