Yi Yi (2000) Directed by: Edward Yang

Yi Yi, meaning A One and a Two, draws the complex portrait of a rather conventional family who lives in Taipei. Nearing three hours, Yi Yi’s poetic and contemplative musings on life’s banalities, sorrows, regrets, magic, redemption, and love captivate even the most restless viewer.

To summarize the narrative of Yi Yi simply wouldn’t describe this movie. To say it’s about life is a platitude. To say it’s about finding happiness through simplification is an over-generalization of the film’s plot. To say that this movie makes banality extraordinary is only a partial truth.

The movie is a poem, and in this poem, the players dig their way through heartache or boredom or confusion and find the beauty in routine as well as in sadness and loss.

Although the characters and the pensive script create a world so raw and true and beautiful, the real magic comes from the camera work. Director Edward Yang’s frames and camera angles work to enhance the film perspective. At times, Yang replaces the character with the camera, so we can hear the character talking or sobbing, and we can see what they see, whether it is a cityscape or a dying grandmother. At other times, Yang pulls the camera far away from the scene’s characters. Instead of the viewer playing the role as omniscient viewer, the shot creates a voyeuristic effect, as if the camera (or viewer) is a passerby, who happens to stop to watch an argument or a kiss.

All throughout the movie, Yang draws us in so close and then pulls us so far away. It is almost as if his camera work is a philosophy or wisdom in itself. These varying frames and shots let us look through different hues of glass to gain a wiser perspective on the life of this family in Taipei.

This movie is long, and at times, tedious. I advise a fruiter wine to draw out the movie’s sweetness. As we are all moving through our years, we all need to be reminded, at times, how lovely and sweet life is. Therefore, I pair Kali Hart Chardonnay with Yi Yi.

Kali Hart 2008
Grown, Produced, and bottled by Robert Talbott

Kali Hart

Kali Hart

Kali Hart, named after Robert Talbott’s youngest daughter, is not your typical Chardonnay. Most people think of Chardonnay as an easier drinking wine that pairs well with popcorn or a buttery, French meal. Kali Hart, however, stands out and takes the drinker on a journey. Containing notes of pineapple, mango, and a little butter, Kali Hart finishes with soft citrus hints. You don’t want to smother this Chardonnay with a meal. This wine deserves to stand alone, or with a movie such as Yi Yi, so you can savor each note the wine presents.