Focusing on a typical family--parents, two children, and an elderly grandmother--living in a small apartment in Taipei, YI YI (A ONE AND A TWO) is about the patterns of daily life. It includes a wedding, a funeral, a first date, a last date, a birth, and a death. The film follows each member of the Jian family carefully, giving each one equal time, completely developing each character. NJ (Wu Nienjen), the father of the family, struggles with a dead-end job at a technology firm while reexamining his marriage when he meets his high school sweetheart, Sherry (Ke Suyun), after 30 years. NJ's teenage daughter, Ting-Ting (Kelly Lee), has a selfless demeanor and a naive interest in everything, which diffuses the complexity of her high school life. Her little brother, Yang-Yang (Jonathan Chang), is an adorable five-year-old troublemaker who's in love with a pesky girl in his class. And Yang-Yang's mother, Min-Min (Elaine Jin), grieves for her dying mother (Tang Runyun) while coping with her own middle age in a rapidly maturing family.
Edward Yang, director of 1991's A BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY, presents a careful, direct, meticulously photographed film with YI YI. Brassy shots of Taipei reflected in the windows of a moving car are offset with slow choreographed sequences using the streetlights to narrate little moral tales. Perhaps the most powerful gem in this film is the magical character of Mr. Ota (Issey Ogata), NJ's Japanese business associate, whose optimistic life perspective will inspire and delight YI YI's viewers.
Cannes Best Director 2000 Edward Yang Taiwanese director