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A Sun

(Chinese): This film is about a family whose structure begins to disintegrate when their youngest child A-Ho, a troublemaker from his youngest days, ends up serving a 3-year prison sentence. There are two main parts to the film. The first part tells how A-Ho ended up in prison and uses flashbacks to better understand the dynamics of the family. For those who have seen Ordinary People, another remarkable film about a dysfunctional family, it is reminiscent of that film. The second part of the film takes a bit of a shift and becomes a crime drama. Part of the brilliance of the film is how well the director puts the two stories together seamlessly and how he brings it all together into a really powerful conclusion. The acting is superior, especially by the actor who plays the father, the actress who plays the mother (both are incredibly skilled in the amount of emotion they bring to their characters through facial expressions alone) and the childhood friend, Radish, who is simultaneously kind and creepy. The film is nearly 2.5 hours long, but it is brilliantly edited and written and provides lots of surprise revelations that keep the story moving. There is also great wisdom in the particular homonym reflected in the title (I don’t know if it was planned that way, but it worked!). Big thumbs up for a film that is powerful and beautiful to look at; it picked up 4 awards at Taiwan’s equivalent of the Oscars. (2019; 4.5 Stars).

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