Taiwan, 2008, 85 minutes
Sun, Apr 26 / 9:15 / Kabuki / ARTE26K
Sun, May 3 / 12:45 / Kabuki / ARTE03K
Thu, May 7 / 8:30 / Kabuki / ARTE07K
Like many of her male predecessors in the Taiwanese New Wave, director Chiang Hsiu-chiung probes the generational and cultural conflicts confronting modern families in Taiwan. Her well-scripted debut is a matrilineal drama about three generations of resilient women. In a powerfully subdued performance, famed Taiwanese opera star and actress Pan Li Li portrays the title role of Ai-tsao, a single 58-year-old woman who cares for her critical, penny-pinching mother and closeted gay son. As a young woman, Ai-tsao defied her conservative family to marry an older mainlander and pursue an independent life in Taipei. Now widowed for over 20 years, she proudly dotes on her two children, for whom she has dutifully worked to provide a good life and first-rate education. Chiangís compassionate, observant camera tracks the small and sometimes playful details of Ai-tsaoís unwavering daily routine: morning tai chi in the park, coastal bus rides to her motherís house, dinner conversations with her son and the occasional visit to model apartments for extended family. When small clues begin to expose her sonís gay relationship, Ai-tsao struggles to quietly accept his unspoken transgression. However, when her daughter returns from abroad harboring a secret as well, Ai-tsao is forced to find the courage to reevaluate her own past and her most fundamental values. Like the wild and hardy plant of her namesake, she discovers that she must adapt to her ever-changing environment if she is to protect and preserve the family she cherishes. GGA Television Narrative Feature Winner
In Taiwanese with English subtitles. Presented with support from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, San Francisco and in association with Frameline. North American Premiere.