The common life of a Taiwaneese family

The common life of a Taiwanese family

Ah-Di, N.J.’s brother, is getting married with a obviously pregnant young woman; N.J. encounters by chance with a former school love; Yang-Yang, N.J.’s son, gets constantly hit in the back of his head by girls; N.J.’s Mother goes home, tired and saying that she’s old; Ting-Ting, N.J.’s daughter, befriends Li-Li, her neighbour, who has a boyfriend called Fatty; Min-Min, N.J.’s wife, plans to go to a religious temple for a season. All these lifes, connected, one with each other come together when Mother has a stroke and enters a coma. Everyone gets touched and everyone changes, everyone lives new lifes. Some of them will experience love, others knowledge or sadness, many times questions are asked and never answered. This is the story of a typical Taiwanese family, living their lifes with troubles and happiness, confronted with a country with economic recession and a loss of culture.

Guilt and forgiveness.

Guilt and forgiveness.

Edward Yang, the director and writer of this movie, has managed the impossible. He has made a movie about everything. Every topic of our life, every knowledge, everything can be found inside. With an always distant camera tries to show life as it is: hard, funny, with a lot of surprises; almost as if it was a documentary about philosophy and the sense behind being human and alive. This is way, maybe, this movie isn’t easy to explain, as it covers every aspect of life, and depending on your prespective of life you will value some elements before others. For example, N.J. buys a camera for Yang-Yang, because his son wants to know why we only see the half of truth; when he has his camera he starts taking pictures of the back of the heads of people, because “they can’t see it”; he, afterwards, says he wants to tell people things they don’t know, maybe this little kid is the incarnation of the director Edward Yang.

Being an artist isnt that easy.

Being an artist isn't that easy.

 The Jian family isn’t special. It’s just as any other family in any other part of the world, that is what makes this movie worthwhilw, we can see ourselves into the film, we can see people we know and things we do, feelings we know we’ve had before. The movie is perfect for getting to know yourself.

Here’s an essay by George Wu about the movie, very insightful.

The trailer for this movie is embed down here, v.o. in various languages (including english) and french subtitles:

Photographs made by Yang-Yang:

Final promise by Yang-Yang, this is the final scene, so spoilers in this video:

#3 in the Top 21st Century List.