Yang Yang movie review

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Yang Yang (陽陽) directed by Cheng Yu-Chieh (鄭有傑) tells the story of Yang Yang, a young  woman and athlete with a Taiwanese mother and a French father who she has never met. Sandrine Pinna (張榕容) stars as Yang Yang and like the character Yang Yang is of Taiwanese and French descent. Sandrine also appeared in Cheng’s debut film Do Over (一年之初) and the script of Yang Yang was written especially for her to play the starring role.

The opening scenes, a wedding and a practice session on the athletics track, quickly set up the plot. Yang Yang’s mother marries her athletics coach. Yang Yang’s new step-sister Xiao-Ru is also her friend and rival on the track. Their rivalry soon spills over into their love life as Xiao-Ru’s boyfriend Shawn takes an interest in Yang Yang.

The movie then shows Yang Yang breaking away and trying to establish her own life without the burden of past attachments. The plot moves seamlessly through this turning point. The script is tight, maintaining dramatic tension throughout. The long hand-held takes keep the focus intently on the emotions of the characters. The film successfully avoids trivialising the issue of Yang Yang’s identity. Throughout the film she is shown as someone meeting the world on her own terms.

The film really deserves success and I highly recommend it.

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