Yang-Yang is half French and half Chinese. She has never met her French birthfather, and doesn’t speak French. She is also a gifted runner. Her best friend, Xiao-Ru, is the daughter of Yang-Yang’s coach, and is also a fellow runner. After Yang-Yang’s birthmother remarries the coach, Xiao-Ru becomes ...(Read more)
Yang-Yang is half French and half Chinese. She has never met her French birthfather, and doesn’t speak French. She is also a gifted runner. Her best friend, Xiao-Ru, is the daughter of Yang-Yang’s coach, and is also a fellow runner. After Yang-Yang’s birthmother remarries the coach, Xiao-Ru becomes Yang-Yang’s stepsister. Yang-Yang tries to adapt herself into the new family. However, Yang-Yang soon falls in love with Xiao-Ru’s boyfriend, and begins an affair. When the affair is revealed, Xiao-Ru takes her revenge. Yang-Yang is forced to quit sport. She leaves the newly adopted home and takes a different career path. With the assistance of Ming-Ren, a show business talent manager, Yang-Yang now works as a fashion model and movie actress. Ironically, her multi-ethnic background becomes her asset in the movie industry. She lands a leading role in a movie as a “French woman,” an identity that she has resisted since early childhood. Worse, she is cast as a girl searching for her birthfather in the film.
Yang Yang is Cheng Yu-Chieh’s fourth film. It continues his attempts to experiment with new cinematic forms and languages. Cheng uses many medium shots and close-ups to picture the face and body of actors. Its portrayal of the female body can be grouped into two parts. As Yang-Yang is transformed from an athlete to a model her bodily representation in the film changes from that of a “desexualized body of an athlete” to a “re-sexualized body of a performer.” This change in the representation of the female body on screen echoes the social and psychological transformation that Yang-Yang undergoes. Sequences shot with a hand-held camera, along with long tracking shots, are also dominant features. The documentary quality of the hand-held cinematography and the elaborate tracking shots create a tension between two kinds of cinematography. The tension generated between different kinds of cinematography also echoes the tension between “reality” and “fiction” created in the film shot within the film (in other words, a “meta-movie”).
The film opens with a long tracking shot, with the camera wandering with Yang-Yang throughout her mother’s wedding, serving as an establishing sequence for the film. The final shot of the film is again done with a single long tracking shot. The camera follows Yang-Yang running on a bank at dawn; a shot that reminds the audience of the classic ending of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959). Indeed, Yang-Yang is a female initiation film. Cheng’s characterization of Yang-Yang and his penetrating portrait of the female psyche can be seen as tackling a series of gender issues, including the construction and collapse of a family; competition between athletes; relationships between women (female “friend-or-foe”); beauty, body, and the male gaze; tensions between sisters; gender discrimination in the workplace, in particular in the studio of a male-dominated movie industry; and finally, the difficulty of establishing a self-identity for a person of multi-ethnic background in Taiwan. Although the film is based on Sandrine Pinna’s (who plays Yang-Yang) biography, it also addresses many general social issues concerning women in contemporary Taiwan depicted through Sandrine Pinna/Yang-Yang’s gaining maturity. At the same time, Cheng Yu-Chieh’s willingness to experiment and think, which established him as a promising director in Taiwan cinema, also gained maturity.
|DVD source：||R.O.C. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.|
|Taiwan Academies, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. please contact Embassies, Representative Offices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C.|
|Language：||Mandarin, Taiwanese, French|
|Subtitle：||English, Japanese, French, Spanish, German|
|Actors：||Sandrine PINNA, HUANG Jian-Wei, Bryant CHANG, HER Sy-Huoy|
|Excluded for public screenings：||China|
Encore Film Co. LTD. & Khan Entertainment Co. LTD
2009 Berlin International Film Festival, Panorama