December 2022 Capsules

Yi Yi [rewatch]
This has never not been among the heights of cinema for me, but something that always puzzled me before this viewing was the focus on the father, sister, and brother, with the mother whisked unceremoniously away for most of the film. But apart from the absence it creates, the room allowed for all members of the family to flirt with the unknown (even the mother, trying out overt spirituality), it also removes the closest familial connection to the grandmother. Everyone else is at a slight remove from the old, comatose woman they express their thoughts to, whether by blood or by a generation gap; even the uncle has to overcome the grandmother’s apprehensiveness. If Yi Yi is the most incisive of films about family, it’s also crucial that the family is forced into unconventional circumstances for so long, that the final reunion is as bittersweet as possible, with chances for new life lost and the passing of a loved one. But they are together in the end, still fundamentally themselves, and that’s what matters.

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