Film: Yi Yi (A One and a Two), by Edward Yang

Just wondering if anybody has seen this film?? If so what did you think??
I actually studied Chinese film at university and during the Taiwanese section of the course we looked at films by Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao Hsien. Is anyone familiar with their work?? I saw Yi Yi at the Melbourne Film Festival last year and just recently rented the DVD to watch it again and I still think it is just as good after watching it the second time. If I was to give it a rating I think I would give it a 9 out of 10. I have seen quite a number of Chinese films over recent years but would like to see more so if anyone has any suggestions I would like to hear them. Thanks Erick

I saw it and didn’t particularly like it. Think I fell asleep while watching it so perhaps I should give it another try. My wife thought it was the most boring movie she’d ever seen. But then she likes Hollywood action flicks.

Have you seen The Hole by Tsai Ming Liang? That tops my Taiwan movies, all respect to Hou Hsiao Hsien of course.

Here’s a link to an interview with Tsai about “The Hole” or Dong as its called in Chinese.


I’d have to agree 100% with HG.

YI YI= 6.5/10

I saw Yi Yi just a couple months ago, and can barely remember what it was about. I think it was so typically Taipei that it didn’t stand out for me–a good example of why people in Taiwan usually don’t like Taiwanese movies (and foreigners do).

Hole on the other hand was like nothing I’d ever seen before. Unique plot and structure, good acting, pretty thoroughly developed characters, disturbing yet funny in places. And How many movies can pull off musical numbers scattered amidst the squalor?

The music was excellent. Grace Chang (Ge Lan), an actress/singer from the fifties. Top stuff.

More on The Hole. PoMoFo (post-moderinist mother fucker) doubledy speak but alright:

On Grace Chang - indirectly as it discusses one of her more famous movies, Mambo Girl:

Just thought of another classic. Hou Hsiao Hsien movie this time. ZaiiJian Nanguo zaijian Goodbye South, Goodbye.
Follows the lives of a pair of low level Taiwan gangsters. It’s bleak but hilarious. These guys are useless, just like the real life wankers they portray.


Well maybe that’s why I liked it. I’ve lived in Taipei 5 years and I thought it was a great ‘Taipei’ movie. Actually I’ve been thinking about that film and want to watch it again. Ironically my Dad got to see it in NZ before I got a chance and he was also raving about it (I found it easier to watch Chinese/Taiwanese/Hong Kong movies in NZ than I do here in Taiwan).

The location of Yi Yi is interesting to me too, because it was filmed right near where I used to live, and where I’m working in the afternoons now. There’s an apartment building near the corner of Xinhia Rd and Taishun St. That’s where the family in the sotry lived. Unlike many movies the shots of views formt he balcony were actually views formt he balcony, not cut-aways to another location, and the foyer was actually the foyer of that bulilding etc. Whenthe boy is going to and from school, that’s the actual way to Guting Elementary school a few minutes up the road (where the students I teach go to school in the mornings). The young lovers kiss under the overpass neart he corner of Xinhai and Xinsheng Sth Rd. Oh well, it adds meaning for me.


Thanks for your replies guys and I apologise for posting this in the Culture and History thread. I could have sworn I entered it into the Film and Books section but anyway it doesn’t really matter I guess. My Taiwanese girlfriend wasn’t all that impressed by Yi Yi but I think she liked it more than some other Taiwanese and Chinese films that she has seen. Obviously this is a generalisation but I think she is like many other young Taiwanese and Japanese in that she is much more interested in Hollywood mainstream film because she often finds independent films boring. But I guess I can understand that because I am usually not in a rush to go and see the latest film Australian film that is showing at the local cinema. Not that all Australian cinema is terrible but I am getting a bit tired of seeing the same themes repeated again and again. I like certain Chinese and Japanese films because of the powerful emotions they can generate with very restrained dialogue. I think films that can be so emotional without the use of contrived words are for me often the most special. Of course I am not saying that dialogue is not important, in most films it is what holds the film together and really gives it the power to influence. There are so many films that I love just because the script is so well written but for me what really interests me about Chinese, Japanese and Korean film is their ability to arouse emotion without so many words.

Yes Huang I have heard alot of favourable comments about ‘The Hole’ and would really like to see it. Have you seen Tsai Ming Liang’s latest film ‘What time is it there?’ I saw it after reading alot of good reviews and I guess I was expecting a bit too much but I was a little disappointed. Not that it was all that bad but I thought after hearing all these great things about it that it was going to be really special. Like I have been saying though it is another classic example of a film which employs minimalist dialogue. Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai is one of my favourite filmmakers because while dialogue is still very important in his films the cinematography is what really makes his films so remarkable.

Brian it is interesting to hear your views on Yi Yi having lived so close to where it was filmed. I have only spent a few days in Taipei so I am not really sure about what Scooter means when he says “it is so typically Taipei” but Scooter can you explain to me what exactly you mean and why is it not good if it is so typically Taipei?? Any other recommendations?? Thanks Erick

Huang I forgot to mention that the article you attached about “The Hole” was written by Fran Martin. She was my lecturer for Chinese cinema at La Trobe University but that was the first time I have seen that article. I must try to see the film soon. Cheers Erick

You did, but it was moved here because the general policy is that Taiwanese filsm and books are better off int his forum.

Re ‘What Time si it There’. I only started watching it. Acftually I haven’t got more than 10 minutes into it yet. It faield to grip me.

Re Wong Kar Wai. One of my all time top directors of all time Magnificent.

Back to Yi-Yi. Typically Taiwan in that it really showed the way people live in Taipei I think. It was a sad movie int hat it seemd to show people cut off from each other even whent hey were coming together for those social functions. People loosing touch. I’d have to watch it again to give a decent opinion. It was a while ago that I saw it.

Hmmm… tough question. I think that it’s probably because I’ve been here for a while (7yrs) so a lot of it just seemed ho-hum to me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a movie which will show me a different (yet typical!) Taipei from the one I know. I, too, like to see a movie where I recognize tons of stuff, but I want to have a different experience than I have in my everyday life, or get a different perspective on the things I see. Otherwise, why not just leave the movie theater and experience things for myself? It wasn’t a bad movie, and in fact it was pretty well done. But i wouldn’t give it high marks because I felt it was lacking. I’m no expert, of course, but I think maybe it would have been a better book (esp. if it did a more in-depth look at what the characters were thinking). Hole, on the other hand, was the perfect material for a movie. It was incredibly visual, and it would not have had the same impact in a different format (book, stage etc.)

Um. As far as other “Taipei” movies… You should check out some of Tsai’s other stuff too. Although his stuff is always really slow, so you have to be patient. Vive L’Amour (Aiqing Wan Wan Sui) has a great (uncut) scene of a woman walking through a threadbare Ta-An park in the early- or mid- 90s. Also one of the main actors is now hugely famous in Taiwanese TV (Taiwan A-cheng in Pi Li Huo…) The River is depressing. You can also see a very young Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger etc.) in “Guling Jie Shaonian Sha Ren Shijian” (literally: Guling Street Youth Murder Incident, probably “Murder on Kuling Street”). It’s a true story, and it was filmed near Chienkuo Boy’s High School (behind my apt.). One last one I can remember off the top of my head: Aiqing Ling Yao. It’s very funny. Anybody remember the English name?

Actually, the latest Tsai Ming Liang film is called “Goodbye, Dragon Inn,” a movie about an old theater in Yonghe that’s haunted. You can catch it at the upcoming Golden Horse Film Festival.

Would that be the weird theatre up the top end of Zhu Lin Road?


Do they finally have YiYi in Taiwan now? I rembember running for store to store, but everybody was telling me, that a Taiwese movie named YiYi does not exist…aiyoo…I had to wait until I could watch it in the cinema back home…
I probably like it so much, because I just came back home from Taiwan and it reminded me the great time I had there…made me kind of sad though.

You know why that is, mesheel? Yi Yi is, in fact, a Japanese movie . . . well, Japanese produced and financed. Only the setting, cast and crew, and the director are Taiwanese. So it’s technically a foreign film here in Taiwan.

no common…isn’t it published and won some price as a taiwanese movie…not japanese…no no…money doesn’t make something japenese out of it, if director, cast and location are all taiwanese…no no…

I’ve seen Yi Yi for sale in Taiwan. The version here, though, doesn’t have English subtitles.

The print I saw was shown at the SPOT cinema. I guess that probably means there’s a print with English subtitles still in circulation somewhere in Taiwan.


Last night I saw a DVD of Yi Yi with English subtitles at one of the two DVD stores (the one without CDs) in the lane parallel to Bade at Guanghua Market: NT$550.

It’s widescreen, too.

i bought a dvd of yi yi in taipei with english subtitles last year from one of those dvd shops in the mall under taipei main station. i think it might have been a hk import or something. the cover and summary on the back were all in english. i personally really liked the film, but i can see how people might find it boring and slow. i bought it a few months after i moved to taipei so i still really enjoyed the “taiwaneseness” of it.