Chang Tso-Chi’s wonderful new film – his most achieved since The Best of Times – is about the members of a family. They come from Kinmen Island, a dot in the sea just off the coast of mainland China which for many years bore the brunt of China’s enmity towards Taiwan, but have settled in the Taipei suburbs to run a modest restaurant. The family has secrets which don’t come out until one member dies (without giving too much away, we can say they have to do with maternity), but there are no great melodramatic revelations. Women dominate the family; the men are a seemingly henpecked husband, nicknamed Dark Face, an autistic uncle who hates the number ‘3’ and has a real talent for ‘naïve’ drawing, and a new grandson, born in unusual circumstances in the opening scene. The women range from a bossy matriarch to a teenager struggling with the realisation that she made the wrong choice of boyfriend. Chang stirs them all together in episodes which have the authentic rhythms of family life and none of the contrivances of soap opera. He observes them with the kind of comic warmth last seen in the films of Edward Yang.
Directed by Tso-chi Chang | Starring : Yijie Li, Yushun Lin, Zihua He, Xuefeng Lu, Meng-jie Gao | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, London Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival