(Dear English readers, please scroll down for English translation)
好几年前，当我第一次看这部电影时，没有现在感到的震撼。那时，这部电影好评如潮。导演杨德昌也因这部电影获得康城电影节的最佳导演。我以前一直归咎于与我一起看的朋友。他不喜欢这种文艺片。看时，一直喊闷，害得我很不好意思，只想电影快点完。所以，没有好好咀嚼。虽然， 这是最主要的原因。可是，现在想起来，我开始怀疑。如果当时我自己看的话，会不会有现在的领悟。 可能也未必, 那时年纪和人生经验太年轻了。
这部电影将那生活中一件件的事一一地描述，一一地交代。不煽情， 不刻意，也不说教。却把那日常生活，那种种的烦恼， 有些人匪夷所思的行为及价值观拍得如此深刻。 把那种种的情感，思绪拿捏得如此准确。
（一）男主角NJ的妈妈（此称婆婆）中风变成植物人。 医生鼓励家人每天轮流跟她说话，希望这可刺激她。NJ太太有一天崩溃, 哭着说：
“….我每天都做同样的， 早上做什么，晚上做什么，几分钟就讲完了。 我怎么只有这么少。我觉得我好像白活了。我每天像个傻子一样，我每天在干什么啊？”
于是， 她进山修佛。后来，婆婆过世，她出回来。见到NJ, 她说：
“在山里，很多人每天跟我说同样的东西。就像婆婆和我一样， 只是身份调转了。我现在发觉， 事情原来没那么复杂。 ”
当ＮＪ去日本公干时，她飞来日本见他。他们俩一起回忆以前恋爱的日子。她曾发疯似地责问NJ : “你怎么没出席我的婚礼？我等得很苦，很伤心！” NJ没回答。
第二天， 她就一句话也不留下地离开了日本，离开了NJ。 （我想，她是回来讨债呢， 还是报复。不过，这样耿耿于怀地生活了三十年，值得吗？ ）
（三）NJ的儿子， 洋洋问他：“爸爸， 我为什么只可以看到人的前面， 却不能同时看到他们的后面？”
洋洋疑惑 ：“ 为什么当我看到人的前面时， 却看不到他们的后面。 看到他们的后面时，却看不到他们的前面。所以，我们只能在某个时间里，只看到一半？ ”
一天， 他给了一张照片给他的叔叔。叔叔说：“哎啊！这不是我吗？ 洋洋啊， 你怎么只拍我的后面啊？ ”
( 四）在婆婆的丧礼上， 洋洋对婆婆说：“….我好想你。尤其是当我看到那个，还没有名字的小表弟，就会想起你常跟我说：你老了。我很想跟他说我觉得……我也老了。”
Last weekend, after Ed and I re-watched < A One and A Two > , I felt a bit unsettled by this powerful and profound film. I was not too sure what I was thinking but felt a bit better after noted down some nonsensical thoughts in my diary.
I had seen this film a few years ago but it did not touched my heart in this way. I always blamed my friend who watched it with me because he did not like this sort of artsy film, and was not used to the slow pace of the film. I felt bad to drag him to watch with me and just wanted the film to finish as quickly as possible. The film lasted three hours, I did not enjoyed the film and did not think about it too much. After I watched it again, I wonder if my friend was not around and I watched it myself, I might just feel the same. I guess, at that time, I was too young in age, as well as life experiences to understand the depth of this film.
This film seems like is telling a story one after another, one by one. It is not deliberate, not purposely to be dramatic, not trying to spell out a great philosophy of life, the winner of 2000 Cannes Film Festival Best Director, Edward Yang, seems so effortlessly showing us some day to day lives, some struggles of ordinary people, “unusual” behaviours and morale of some people in such a profound and powerful way. He portrays people’s thoughts and feelings through his camera in such precision.
This film is about a story of a small middle class family in Taiwan. I won’t write much about the story line because the story seems simple but it subtley and continuously develops into complicated issues in life. I would only like to share some profound and thought-provoking scenes or dialogues in the film : –
(1) NJ (the lead actor)’s mother had a stroke and went into coma. The doctor advised the family to talk to her everyday, in the hope that it would stimulate her. One day, NJ’s wife broke down crying and said :
“….I repeat the same thing everyday. What I do in the morning, what I do in the evening, are all the same everyday. It only takes me a few minutes to tell mom about my whole day. Why I have so little in my life ? I feel like I have wasted it all. I live like an idiot everyday, what am I doing everyday? ”
She then went to mountains to practise Buddhism. When NJ’s mother passed away, she came back to meet the family.
She said : “When I was in the mountains, there were many people came to talk to me. They repeated the same thing over and over again. It was just like me and mom. The only difference was the switch of the roles. I suddenly realised, it is not as complicated as I thought previously.”
(2) Coincidentally, NJ met his ex-lover during his youngster times. They had not seen each other for nearly 30 years. She was still beautiful, married to a rich man and was living in USA. Many years ago, NJ left her without leaving a word or a reason to her. The main reason he decided to leave because she against his wish to study arts, instead wanted him to study engineering. Not knowing the reason, it had bothered her for the past 30 years.
When NJ went to Japan for a short stay due to work, she flew there to meet him. During that times, they recollected the old memories and old love together. She once asked him furiously : ” Why didn’t you attend my wedding ? I had been waiting and waiting, feeling miserable and heart-broken ! “
NJ did not answered but later said :” After I left you, I still ended up studying engineering and lives the life you wanted me to live.”
They nearly had an affair but rationale and morale saved them. NJ told her later :” I never love anybody else.” (I personally find this is very irresponsible !)
The day after, she left him and Japan without leaving a word or a reason for him. ( I wonder if she came back to revenge purposely, if so, I think it must be so hard to live a life full of anger, possibly hatred for 30 years. Is this worth it ? )
NJ told his wife when he saw her again :”When you were away, I had an opportunity to go back to my youngster times. Initially, I thought if I had the chance to re-live my life, things might be different now. The outcome ended up very similar, there was no big difference. Suddenly I realised, if I could have a second chance….I think there is no need to have this second chance… no such need anymore….”
(3) One day, NJ’s son, Yang Yang asked him: “Dad, why when I see people’s face, I can’t see their back at the same time ? When I see their back but I can’t see their front? ”
NJ:”What do you mean ?”
Yang Yang pondered again:”Why I can only see someone’s front but not the back at the same time, when I see their back but not the front? So, is that mean I can only see half truth at a time?”
Yang Yang later got into photography, he particularly liked to take photographs of people’s back. His absolute “loser” teacher found his photographs of people’s back, thought he was odd and punished him.
One day, Yang Yang gave a photograph to his uncle.
The uncle looked at the photograph :” Oh! This is me. This is my back. Yang Yang, why did you take photograph of my back ? “
Yang Yang replied :”You only always see your own front but never see your back. I take this photo for you to see it for yourself – something you never see before.”
(4) In his grandmother’s funeral, Yang Yang told grandmother :” ….I miss you very much, especially when I see my young cousin who has not had a name yet, it reminded me of you who always liked to tell me you were getting old. I wanted to tell that little young cousin the same thing : I am getting old too….”
I think Yang Yang is the one who has the “clearest head” in this film.
There are other scenes I really like, eg the Japanese’s attitude towards life etc, but I could not note down all of them here.
I am wondering, if I watch this film again in a few years times, would I have greater realisation or would I have different thoughts ?