Father to Son
Gateway | Gateway
This beguiling movie charts two journeys—one of them from Taiwan, the other to it. Van Pao-te (Michael Jq Huang), gravely ill at the age of 60, defers potentially life-saving treatment in order to travel from his home country to Japan. In the company of his son (Fu Meng-Po), Van searches for the father who abandoned him 50 years ago—an absence that has haunted him for almost all of his life. In the second journey, a young man (Aria Wang) somehow connected to Van travels from Hong Kong to Taiwan. Through these intersecting tales, themes of history and memory are explored while unforgettable revelations are unearthed.
Director Hsiao Ya-Chuan began his career as a directing assistant for Hou Hsiao-hsien (The Assassin, VIFF 15), and the Taiwanese master’s influence is palpable throughout this richly textured and visually ravishing tour-de-force. With precise rhythms deeply indebted to the masterpieces of Hou, Father to Son emerges as a wholly distinct work in its own right, with striking images you won’t soon forget. Placing the personal history of his characters next to the morphing national backdrop of Taiwan, Hsiao forces us to consider where we’re going by examining from whence we came.
Best Director, Taipei 18