MEETING DR. SUN
Directed by Yee Chih-yen
Best Screenplay, 2014 Taipei Film Festival
It’s not clear if Lefty is left-handed or if his name has handed him a life of liberal politics. What’s certain is that his family is poor and he can’t pay his tuition. One day he spies a giant bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Republic of China, collecting dust at school. He ropes in fellow underdogs and concocts a plan to steal Dr. Sun, sell the statue, pay their tuition, and maybe have money left over to share. But then, in a cool stroke of the absurd, Lefty and his gang find that there may be another team of poor kids at school with the same idea. The stakes are on and the clock ticks.
But MEETING DR. SUN doesn’t let the velocity of genre take over. The film plays like a dream, as if the heist were just a figment of a young man’s hare-brained plans that include bargaining for masks and cozying up to unsuspecting grannies. They go through the motions gently, not wanting to disturb anyone or make a show. Like the characters, the film’s serene piano score tip-toes through the caper rather than blasts through it like dynamite.
As he did in his breakthrough Blue Gate Crossing, director Yee Chih-yen depicts young people taking control of their own lives, however idealistic or misguided it may be. The surreal anime masks and fanciful repetitions form an air of the bizarre that somehow makes the persistence of the students even more charming and true. They are upset by society but have few revolutionary models, despite Sun Yat-sen looming large, reduced to an antique but absurdly inspiring a lost generation nevertheless. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: Taiwanese American Professionals – SD
Cast: Zhan huai-yun, Matthew Wei han-ting, Joseph Chang