love

Author Topic: Ferris' GooseEgg Marathon: 40 great films from this decade  (Read 64827 times)

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33362
  • Marathon Man
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #240 on: January 05, 2010, 10:19:56 AM »
I wonder if that's why this and United 93 are among my Top 5 for the decade.
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

ferris

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 10831
  • "Bravo Vincent....Bravo!"
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #241 on: January 13, 2010, 12:07:05 PM »
Goose Egg Marathon Film #15



Yi YI: A One and a Two
(2000, Edward Yang)

"Why are we afraid of a first time? Every day of life is a first time"

Yi Yi is a film about three generations of a Tawainese family in over the course of about a month or so in Taipei.   Story threads intertwine between three different perspectives: a middle-aged father, his eight year old son, and his teenage daughter. The film gives lots of time to the characters that surround their lives, deftly changing perspectives and settings.  This three-hour epic (which must contain hundreds of scenes!) bookended by a wedding and a funeral.



It helps in watching this film to know a bit about the "New Taiwanese" cinema and the styles and themes that pervasive during this brief period - including long takes, wide shots and a focus on what distiguishes Taiwan from China - a country who's shadow of history and global influence is ever present.  Unlike similar evolutions in the US and France, this period did not gravitate towards youth-in-revolt stories - quite the opposite!  Instead it looked back in homage to a Taiwain from the pre-Republic of China era.

It's easy to see right away the attention Yang places on the look of the film and his efforts to characterize Taipai as a city of the newest and oldest generation.  There is beautiful framed shot after beautiful framed shot.  The cinematography is deliberate and the effort pays off on the screen.  What's more the long shots give a bit of an air of tension that by 2 hours in is just palpable.




But the genius of this film is its characters.  It is a portrait-of-life piece unlike any I have seen before.  In my filmgoing experience I'm treated to lots of ensemble pieces where characters' stories interweave and then converge in a final climatic event.  That story arc can be pretty effective - giving the audience a cross sectional fly-on-the-wall look at characters in apogee at their best and worst.

Here it's a much different take.  We get to spend more time getting to know our characters in their daily life: how small decisions are made, how subconscious fears can inhibit them, and how the drain of a life on cruise control cannot be solved with a simple story arc.

It's a bit unnerving from my Western sensibility to sit and wait for the big 'other shoe drops' moment.  Waiting for it almost causes one to miss the little details the film wants to focus.  And it's not like the director doesn't know he's doing this!  There's a scene with a swimming pool, for instance, where you know the director is just toying with audience expectations.





One conceit of the director is these various shots using reflection and mirror images.  I found them extremely effective.  

The film is like going through a scrapbook, looking at photos and getting to see a story play out for each photo.  In the way a reality show let's us spy on characters, this film let's us watch them make good and bad decisions, find the perfect words or completely blow it, and just try to navigate through a life filled with people with the same imperfections he has.





I loved the boy in this film and getting a chance to follow him around.  In most films children are either a plot device used to setup an emotional climax in the film, to punctuate a theme, or is simply used as comic relief in the film.  Here, the 8 year old get's his own story.  Like most 8 years olds the story of his day is often random and meandering.   Like a parent does with a child it's easy for an audience to give too much meaning to things like bringing a funnel into a bathtub.  He's a kid.  It's what kids do.  Because of this, when the child gets his moment towards the end of the film - it is earned.





My favorite scenes were with NJ and Ota.  I loved the honesty of the relationship these two struck up - even through knowing full well how much deceit was still lurking underneathe.  Didn't you just want these two to somehow form their own company in the end?  But like in life - there are so many poignient moments that in the end result in a dead end but you get to carry those moments around with you in the sum of your parts.  The older you get the more brushes with others become all too brief - but the lessons can last a lifetime.  



There is a bit of a nihilist thread to this film - the same choices will be made even they are postponed, pepole read into the effectiveness of supersticions and religion but the results are often ambiguious, and the fact that no matter how much meaning goes into a situation there is an outside power forcing the proceedings and we are powerless against them.  However, the film very much argues that we are still not passive on this journey.  These moments are to be learned from and treasured to the last breath.  Like somehow we can plug into that force even though we may be powerless to help guide it.

I did like this film alot.  At the end of the first viewing and had a lot of questions.  It was an effort to get through at times.  But after all when said-and-done I found I missed these characters- perhaps more so than any set of characters from the 160 or so I've seen in the past year.  So high praise.  One of the best of the marathon so far.


Verdict:
Very ambitious in attention to story and characters.  Beautiful to look at.  Tender and moving in a way that's hard to wittle down to a sentence or two. 

Grade: A 
« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 05:02:22 PM by ferris »
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
(switchboard)

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 18654
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #242 on: January 13, 2010, 12:30:13 PM »
As usual, excellent review, ferris.  I found the film less poignant, but I know that part of it was me feeling miserable on the day I watched it.  You have encouraged me to revisit it.  Eventually.

I 100% agree with you about the boy in the film.  I really appreciated his story arc.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Melvil

  • Godfather
  • *****
  • Posts: 9977
  • Eek
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #243 on: January 13, 2010, 12:37:03 PM »
Awesome review, ferris! Totally makes me want to revisit it as well. I don't remember it in detail, but everything you said reminded me of what I loved in it.

ferris

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 10831
  • "Bravo Vincent....Bravo!"
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #244 on: January 13, 2010, 12:37:28 PM »
As usual, excellent review, ferris.  I found the film less poignant, but I know that part of it was me feeling miserable on the day I watched it.  You have encouraged me to revisit it.  Eventually.

I 100% agree with you about the boy in the film.  I really appreciated his story arc.

Thanks Steve.  I failed to mention in my review, the 20 minutes in I was so disoriented as to who was who that I started it over.  That time investment really paid off.  The film certainly doesn't spoonfeed.  It is an effort.  I can image if I wasn't in the right mood I would lose interest in it fairly quickly.  I think it's a movie that really can reward repeat viewings.  That said, I'm struggling with thoughts of did it really need all three hours?

Awesome review, ferris! Totally makes me want to revisit it as well. I don't remember it in detail, but everything you said reminded me of what I loved in it.

Thanks!  Too bad it's not the kind of thing that's just gonna show up on HBO late one night.  It strikes me like something like Shawshank or Field of Dreams where it would be easy to get hooked while coming across it while flipping channels
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 12:39:32 PM by ferris »
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
(switchboard)

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 18654
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #245 on: January 13, 2010, 12:40:56 PM »
As usual, excellent review, ferris.  I found the film less poignant, but I know that part of it was me feeling miserable on the day I watched it.  You have encouraged me to revisit it.  Eventually.

I 100% agree with you about the boy in the film.  I really appreciated his story arc.

Thanks Steve.  I failed to mention in my review, the 20 minutes in I was so disoriented as to who was who that I started it over.  That time investment really paid off.  The film certainly doesn't spoonfeed.  It is an effort.  I can image if I wasn't in the right mood I would lose interest in it fairly quickly.  I think it's a movie that really can reward repeat viewings.  That said, I'm struggling with thoughts of did it really need all three hours?

That last statement is exactly what I felt.  If it had been more concise, I think I would have appreciated it more.  Perhaps the director was so caught up with the beauty and cleverness of the cinematography, that he failed to carry some of us with him in his vision?  Although you seemed to really appreciate it, nevertheless.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

ferris

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 10831
  • "Bravo Vincent....Bravo!"
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #246 on: January 13, 2010, 12:43:05 PM »
As usual, excellent review, ferris.  I found the film less poignant, but I know that part of it was me feeling miserable on the day I watched it.  You have encouraged me to revisit it.  Eventually.

I 100% agree with you about the boy in the film.  I really appreciated his story arc.

Thanks Steve.  I failed to mention in my review, the 20 minutes in I was so disoriented as to who was who that I started it over.  That time investment really paid off.  The film certainly doesn't spoonfeed.  It is an effort.  I can image if I wasn't in the right mood I would lose interest in it fairly quickly.  I think it's a movie that really can reward repeat viewings.  That said, I'm struggling with thoughts of did it really need all three hours?

That last statement is exactly what I felt.  If it had been more concise, I think I would have appreciated it more.  Perhaps the director was so caught up with the beauty and cleverness of the cinematography, that he failed to carry some of us with him in his vision?  Although you seemed to really appreciate it, nevertheless.

I did.  The reason I struggle with making it shorter is it kinda undercuts the themes of meaning in trivial events and people in our lives.  It's a risky directorial choice - and at least to my filmography thus far - a rare one.  I appreciate it for that.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 12:44:51 PM by ferris »
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
(switchboard)

Melvil

  • Godfather
  • *****
  • Posts: 9977
  • Eek
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #247 on: January 13, 2010, 12:44:19 PM »
That said, I'm struggling with thoughts of did it really need all three hours?

Maybe, maybe not. I'm of the opinion that a movie like this, where it uses its time rather subtly to allow you to learn about and connect with the characters, comes out better for the length with which you spend with them. The "story" certainly could have been told in less time, but there's all those great little moments that wouldn't have all made the cut. I think what it comes down to, is how effectively is that time used. From my memory of Yi yi, it didn't drag on or feel like filler to flesh out the runtime.

oldkid

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 18654
  • Hi there! Feed me worlds!
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #248 on: January 13, 2010, 12:48:51 PM »
That said, I'm struggling with thoughts of did it really need all three hours?

Maybe, maybe not. I'm of the opinion that a movie like this, where it uses its time rather subtly to allow you to learn about and connect with the characters, comes out better for the length with which you spend with them. The "story" certainly could have been told in less time, but there's all those great little moments that wouldn't have all made the cut. I think what it comes down to, is how effectively is that time used. From my memory of Yi yi, it didn't drag on or feel like filler to flesh out the runtime.

And I have to admit, I didn't feel that anything there was "filler".  Yes, I did feel it drag on and on.  But if the director had asked me, "So what would you take out?"  I don't think I could point at something and say-- "Get rid of that."  Everything had purpose.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

pixote

  • Administrator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33606
  • Up with generosity!
    • yet more inanities!
Re: Ferris' Goose Egg Marathon: TWENTY Great Films from this Decade (2000-2009)
« Reply #249 on: January 13, 2010, 01:49:01 PM »
I thought it was a little too short.

pixote
Great  |  Near Great  |  Very Good  |  Good  |  Fair  |  Mixed  |  Middling  |  Bad