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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Mandarin Dolby Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by writer-director Edward Yang and noted Asian-cinema critic Tony Rayns
  • New video interview with Rayns about Yang and the New Taiwan Cinema movement
  • Optional English subtitle translation by Yang and Rayns
  • U.S. theatrical trailer

Yi Yi


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Edward Yang
2000 | 173 Minutes | Licensor: Fox Lorber/Wellspring

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #339
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: July 11, 2006
Review Date: March 24, 2011

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SYNOPSIS

With the runaway international acclaim of this film, Taiwanese director Edward Yang could no longer be called Asian cinema's best-kept secret. Yi Yi swiftly follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-aged father NJ's tenuous flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang's attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, Yang imbues every gorgeous frame with a deft, humane clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century.

Forum members rate this film 8.6/10

 

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Criterionís DVD for Edward Yangís Yi Yi presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this lone dual-layer disc and has been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

Though a stark improvement over Fox Lorberís previous DVD edition (which was hard to watch, with a jumpy image laced with compression artifacts and noise) it still presents its problems, more than likely due to the fact Criterion is still cramming a near 3-hour film onto one disc. Compression artifacts are still fairly noticeable, dancing around objects. The filmís grain structure is still somewhat intact but looks more like noise than film grain. Edge-enhancement is noticeable throughout as well. Close-ups can present some adequate detail but long shots are a mushy mess.

Colours are pretty good, though reds can be a bit of a mess and look pixelated. Blacks appear crushed in some external shots but elsewhere they look pretty deep and pure. The print is in excellent condition with only a few blemishes and itís much cleaner than the previous DVD edition.

It still has some of the same problems the Fox Lorber disc did but not to the same extent and despite its weaknesses it is a substantial improvement.

6/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The Dolby Surround track perfectly suits the film. It sticks primarily to the front speakers, but some effects and music do creep to the rears. Dialogue is clear and music fills the environment nicely with adequate range.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

A higher tier release (with a $40 price tag) the disc comes as a severe disappointment with only a couple of supplements.

The big supplement is an audio commentary featuring film scholar Tony Rayns and director Edward Yang together, which I believe was originally recorded for another DVD edition. Itís a pleasant track and surprisingly breezy for being just shy of 3 hours. Rayns appears to be there possibly to coax Yang along but Yang is surprisingly talkative and I feel he actually takes up most of the running time. Rayns constantly asks Yang questions throughout, whether technical in nature or about the story or characters. Yang freely shares his reasoning for the choices he made and offers many insights on his ideas of filmmaking. The two also talk about the state of Taiwanese cinema, the actors, Yangís previous films, and even reminisce on their own personal visits to Japan. Rayns offers his own thoughts on the film but this is primarily Yangís show and is more technical in nature than scholarly. Still, itís a rather enlightening and even entertaining track.

Next is a 15-minute interview with Tony Rayns on his own, talking about Taiwanese cinema and its history, from its early days in the 50s, where it was used more for propaganda, to the 80s where there was rebirth of sorts in the New Taiwanese Cinema movement. Here Rayns talks about various directors including Yang and, to an even greater extend, Hou Hsiao-Hsien. An interesting crash course but it does ultimately feel very brief (and despite the 15-minute length it has still been divided into 8 chapters.)

A 2-minute theatrical trailer then closes the disc.

The booklet presents an excellent essay on the film by Kent Jones and then a small collection of notes on the film by Edward Yang about the title and casting, some of which is mentioned in the commentary.

Though I enjoyed the commentary the features overall are still slim and a major disappointment.

6/10

CLOSING

The image is weak and the supplements are slim but even then this DVD is still a strong improvement over Fox Lorberís DVD edition.


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