With the runaway international acclaim of this film, Taiwanese director Edward Yang could no longer be called Asian cinema’s best-kept secret. Yi Yi swiftly 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-aged father NJ’s tenuous flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang’s attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, Yang imbues every gorgeous frame with a deft, humane clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century. —The Criterion Collection
Though largely unknown in the West, Edward Yang emerged, over the course of two decades, as one of international cinema’s most distinctive voices and, along with Hou Hsiao Hsien, one of Taiwan’s finest filmmakers. Born in Shanghai in 1947, Yang fled with his family to Taiwan during the tumult of the Chinese Civil War. At a young age, he found creative inspiration in Japanese comic books and soon began writing his own works. In 1974, having received an advanced degree in Computer Science at Florida State University, he went on to study film at the University of Southern California. He quickly grew disillusioned with the program’s commercial emphasis, however, and withdrew after only one semester. He remained in America, working as a computer expert for several years. During this time, he kindled his passion for cinema by writing a script and aiding the production of the Hong Kong television movie Winter of 1905 (1981). Upon his return to Taiwan, he directed a number of television shows… read more
An interesting note: Min-min, after her breakdown, is pondering her life, looking out the windows of her workplace. A red traffic signal far below blinks in time to the beat of her heart, the reflection of it in the glass superimposed directly on her heart.
Yang’s creative ethos is summed up by two of his lesser known films: A Confucian Confusion and Mahjong .
This complete retrospective features the US theatrical premiere of the restored A Brighter Summer Day.
(Originally posted at www.tkatthemovies.com)
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