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Edward Yang 1947-2007

Posted by Wesley Morris  July 2, 2007 02:06 PM

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The "Good Morning America" movie critic, Joel Siegel, died over the weekend. He'd been battling cancer and finally succumbed.

The uncommonly sensitive Taiwanese director Edward Yang also has died. His was not a household name in this country, even though he held U.S. citizenship (he was born in Shanghai, raised in Taiwan, and expired at home in Beverly Hills). His films were focused almost exclusively on the Taipei middle-class. The last and best known of them, 2000's "Yi Yi" (it was called "A One and a Two" over here) is his masterpiece, an hours-long, simply told film about the vicissitudes of familial love.

It is one of the finest movies ever made, and certainly one of the truest about the ties that bind relatives. Sometimes they're strong. Sometimes blood is no thicker than water. "What can you do? It's family," the movie seems to say with understated but democratic style: the long takes and wide angles allow your eye to consider everything and anything happening within his framing. As with all seven of Yang's movies, "Yi Yi" is full of complex, life-size feeling. This very much could be dinner at your house. Only more beautifully filmed.

He was a great director (1991's "A Brighter Summer Day" is also marvelous), and the movies are worse off without him.

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