“Yi Yi” (Criterion)
It can’t be coincidence that Edward Yang’s sublime, serene, deeply personal 2000 drama of one Tapei family frustrated by the alienating effects of modern Taiwan society struck a chord throughout the world. Leisurely paced at three hours, it winds us through the complications of family relations, the stresses of Taiwan’s rickety economy, and the larger mysteries of life—love, death, faith, knowledge—in a way that is unique to contemporary Taiwan and universal to the human condition. This is not a drama of Big Events, but small details and delicate emotions, and Yang lets them seep through the fabric of the film with such sincerity and feeling that I couldn’t help but feel, in my own small way, redeemed by this vision.
The newly-remastered and restored edition, with the original English subtitle translation by director Edward Yang and critic Tony Rayns, features the supplements of the previous DVD release: commentary by writer-director Edward Yang and Asian-cinema critic Tony Rayns, video interview with Rayns about the “New Taiwanese Cinema” movement and the U.S. theatrical trailer, plus a booklet with an essay by Kent Jones and notes by writer-director Edward Yang.