Directed by Tom Shu-Yu Lin
Closing Film, 2015 Taipei Film Festival
Official Selection, 2015 Busan International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival
The car accident wreckage that opens ZINNIA FLOWER is played not for the thrill of survival, but for something far more heart-rending: that instant when love, life, and normalcy get dragged out of the driver’s seat by a medic. Under the direction of Tom Shu-yu Lin, the crescendos of a piano and a cut to an empty apartment deliver with springing cruelty that sinking sense that past and future are being stripped away by a ravaging present.
From that instant comes a bold step back to life. Two survivors of that crash both had to see their loved ones perish. Both have friends, family, and spiritual advisors to guide them back into their routines. But as splendidly performed by Karena Lam and Stone (Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, SDAFF ’13), grief is a personal journey. For a husband who has lost his young wife and a lover who has lost her fiancé, it’s a journey with bursts of emotion, but for the most part is experienced on the surface of life’s smallest details: a ring of a doorbell, the reading of a comic book.
Lin (Winds of September, SDAFF ‘09, Starry Starry Night, SDAFF ’12) recently lost his own wife, and co-wrote and directed ZINNIA FLOWER as his own journey of mourning. Taiwanese tradition says that it takes 100 days to get over a death, but as Lin astutely observes, it also takes everyday work to learn to live with empty chairs and sleep next to unused pillows. –Brian Hu