Written by Hariharan
Normal life has never been presented so inconspicuously beautiful like this, apart from maybe Pather Panchali. Edward Yang's Yi-Yi presents us with slices of life from a bunch of characters whom we meet the same way we meet a distant relative for the first time. They share our understanding of everyday life. They have problems, they have their big moments; some are in their crests and some in their troughs. Who knew that viewing life through the eyes of a Taiwanese family would be so familiar for an Indian. The film exudes a very serendipitous mood, with every character striding through life, taking in scenes of a monotonous routine and experiencing it minus the hurriedness. The essence of experiences from every stage of our lives has been portrayed in some form or spirit in the film; be it teenage relationships, a botchy marriage, or a student's encounters in school. There are several moments where we can empathize and soak in the beauty of everyday life that we usually take for granted. Yi-Yi represents the very spirit of cinema and art in general. There are no money shots, there is no fancy lighting or fast cuts. There are no enthralling elements that give us instant gratification. Instead, we are presented with what we see every day: the truth. This is as personal as art should be. There is a pain but not rage, there is sorrow but not melancholy. There are no extremities, which is what we are deriving our entertainment from for the past God-knows-how-many years. Instead, we are slapped with the dull, unassuming lives we lead and it is a beautiful slap; a slap we all need. We seek to extend our saturation points and are in constant pursuit of the next big thing in our life that is going to give us more pleasure than the previous big thing. In this constant pursuit, we lose out on the truth, conscience, and the will to be content; the will to say 'no more'. Yi-Yi is a palate cleanser and one that achieves its purpose in a subtle, yet powerful fashion.