Edward Yang’s “Yi Yi” is a delicate masterpiece about self-reflection and the little things that make life worth living. Yang orchestrated an ensemble of social scenes that literally feature “reflection shots” of his characters. At times, you can see their reflection on windows, mirrors, or polished surfaces, but beneath the surface we see much more, we see characters undergoing inner-change as they go through the unavoidable randomness of life.
In one scene, a character asks a simple question: “Every day in life is a first time. We never live the same day twice. We’re never afraid of getting up every morning. Why?” With a career spanning two decades, Yang has graced us with a thought-provoking film about the uncertainties awaiting us in the span of a lifetime. If there is one thing we know for sure, it is that the most unexpected discoveries await us in the sphere of time.
“Yi Yi” is structured in a way that resembles the cycle of life itself; it starts with a wedding and ends with a funeral. The one thing that always catches me by surprise is how the scenes unfold in a very natural way. We are not fed moments, we arrive to them the same way we reach and attain realizations in our own lives. Yang doesn’t try to convey an idea to the audience, he simply lets you observe it. Once you assess what you have seen, you start appreciating the subtlety of a master in complete control of his craft.