A TIME IN QUCHI
Directed by Chang Tso-chi
Official Selection, 2013 Locarno Film Festival
There’s a stream that flows through the town of Quchi, and a forest with a chorus of crickets. Not too far is an elementary school where kids with names like Bear and Steamed Bun pester each other and play in trees. Such is the Quchi discovered by stubborn city kid Bao, deposited in his grandfather’s home by parents who seem to want a vacation from parenting. Grandpa won’t let him watch TV during dinner, and worst of all, Bao’s “most detested little sister” soon shows up and becomes the most popular new kid in school. Bao thinks it’s going to be a long summer. Little does he know that, between the basketball and the video games, the beatboxing and the Chopin, are bonds previously unimaginable.
With its light, comedic touch and affection for everyday rhythms, A TIME IN QUCHI is a throwback to Taiwanese cinema’s renaissance 1980s, when directors like Hou Hsiao-hsien and Liao Ching-sung projected a nation’s coming-of-age by giving voice to kids at play. While A TIME IN QUCHI lacks the darker elements of director Chang Tso-chi’s previous films, it is enlivened by Chang’s proven ability to shuffle time with flashbacks and a musical montage that leaves unsuspecting hearts racing. Old flames intersect with new crushes. There are times for living and dying, and wind through the green, green grass in this most unforgettable summer at grandpa’s. –Brian Hu