A One and a Two

Director: Edward Yang

Director Edward Yang was one of the leading lights of a New Taiwanese Cinema which emerged in the 1980s. His international breakthrough came with A One and a Two, a masterful study of the everyday trials and tribulations of three different generations in the same middle-class family. It all happens at once for N.J. Jiain (Wu Nianzhen), partner in a failing Taipei computer firm: his mother-in-law goes into a coma on the day his broth-in-law marries, while N.J. himself meets his long-lost first love at the wedding reception and starts wondering if his life could have been different. Before long, N.J.’s wife has gone off to follow a religious guru, their young son has got into trouble at school, and their teenage daughter is getting her first lessons in the joys of dating. Directing with a formal precision which never masks the warmth of its feeling for the characters, the film suggests that the ways we deal with our problems change very little over the years, even if the problems themselves do change. Yang marshals a dozen major characters and nearly as many narrative strands with apparently effortless clarity, producing a wise and worldly vision of the ways we all live now.
Taiwan-Japan, 2000. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 173 mins.

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