Based on his own experience as a dissident, director Ying Liang’s most recent feature is deeply personal—and with Hong Kong in the midst of increasingly violent protests, it’s even more topical now than when it was made.
Yang Shu is an exiled Chinese filmmaker living in Hong Kong with her husband, Ka-Ming, and their three-year-old son, both of whom are Hong Kong citizens. While she teaches, endures the onerous and endless process of maintaining her residency status, and struggles to find actors and investors willing to sign on to a controversial project about 2014’s Umbrella Revolution, she also keeps in touch with her ailing mother back in Sichuan, Chen, the only way she can—via online video chat.
When Yang is invited to a film festival in Taiwan, Ka-Ming arranges for his mother-in-law to embark on a bus tour of the island. He bribes the cheerily threatening guide (“Please make sure you don’t disappear….all your papers are with me!” she chirps) to look the other way as the family follows the tour bus from sight to sight, meeting the frail Chen at every stop while unconvincingly insisting they aren’t related.
Sometimes comically absurd, often heartrending, this family drama captures the universal aspects of the parent-child relationship—“What a good son you have!” Chen shouts at a deaf tourmate after a disagreement with Yang—against the specific backdrop of governmental oppression. With it comes the grim knowledge that, even as they bond in the present, mother and daughter will have to sever ties entirely in the future.
Producer: Jeremy Chua, Wen-Chen Tseng | Editor: Yue-Xing Liu | Cinematographer: Ryuji Otsuka | Screenwriter: Wai Chan, Liang Ying
Cast: Nai An, Zhe Gong, Pete Teo, Xin Yue Tham
Additional Countries: Hong Kong, Singapore, Mayaysia