Video Picks Archive

May 9, 2001
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>

This week my picks are Yi Yi (A One and a Two) (2000 - ) and Le quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows) (1959 - ).

The first film this week was the other import from Taiwan last year: the long one without the flying kung fu fights. Yi Yi follows a family in Taipei as each of its members deals with a significant moment in their lives, from a first love for daughter Ting-Ting (Kelly Lee) to a reunion with an old flame for father N.J. (Wu Nien-Jen). While I criticized the film's three-hour length in my original review, I believe that this film will play much better on video, where you can give yourself an intermission from the many, many subtitles. What you will have is an in-depth look at humanity without the fatigue.
Full review from February 6, 2001

It was the adventures of the 8-year-old son Yang-Yang (Jonathan Chang), however, that I found the most interesting. His discovery of his artistic self at a young age reminded me in some way of François Truffaut's protagonist in his first film: The 400 Blows. In this film, the second pick this week, he introduces the semi-autobiographical character Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud). The 12-year-old, inspired by his readings of Balzac, steals a typewriter as the beginning of a career in both writing and petty thievery. Truffaut moved from behind the critic's desk to the forefront of the French New Wave with this film, which remains the best directorial debut of all time. On his first try, he managed to combine humor, fantasy, and stark realism with incredible results. During his brilliant career that followed, Truffaut brought Antoine back four more times, allowing the character to follow in his footsteps for twenty years.


For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Yi yi (A One and a Two) (2000)
Le quatre cents coups (1959)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Yi Yi (2000) - English subtitles -- VHS
Yi Yi (2000) - English subtitles -- VHS Widescreen
Yi Yi (2000) -- DVD
The 400 Blows (1959) - English subtitles -- VHS Widescreen
The 400 Blows (1959) -- DVD


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