an older Asian woman with a book in her lap, stroking the hair of a kneeling younger woman with her head on the bookalr

Introduction by Sean Yang and Kaili Peng

Yi Yi (A One and a Two …)

Screening on Film
Sold Out
Directed by Edward Yang.
With Wu Nien-Jen, Elaine Jin, Issey Ogata.
Taiwan/Japan, 2000, 35mm, color, 173 min.
Mandarin, Min Nan, Hokkien, English, Japanese and French with English subtitles.
Print source: Yale Film Archive

Edward Yang’s cinematic swan song, released at the turn of the millennium, is a moving tapestry that weaves together the dissolution and reconstitution of the fragile subjectivities in an increasingly global, capitalist and mediated urban society. Yi Yi opens with a wedding and ends with a funeral. What unfolds between love and death is everything that saturates our modern existence: awakening, nostalgia, contingency, anxiety, alienation, the ennui of everyday banality and the oscillations between longings for interpersonal dependence and fears of intimacy. This three-hour-long audiovisual epic unfolds the confusions and struggles of the multigenerational Jian family. As the grandmother falls into a coma, the family members take turns sitting at her bedside relaying their life to her, only to hear their own doubts and uncertainties reverberate in the resounding silence. At his tenderest moment, Yang, through Yi Yi, delicately, wisely and elegantly portrays the poignant reminiscences of the stirrings of first love and unveils the beauty that all too often shies away in the face of a perceived emptiness of life.

Yi Yi introduction and post-screening discussion with Kaili Peng, Sean Yang and HFA Director Haden Guest.

Part of film series

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Chronicles of Changing Times. The Cinema of Edward Yang