AFTER SPRING, THE TAMAKI FAMILY…
Directed by Huang Yin-Yu
Official Selection, 2016 Taipei Film Festival
Wang Yu-hua and her husband were amongst a wave of Taiwanese who moved to Japan in the decades just before and after World War II. They settled in what was dubbed “Taiwan Village” in Okinawa. There, she became Tamayo Tamaki and raised her children and grandchildren as Japanese, though as we discover from her 32-year-old grandson Shingo, being Japanese as a half-Taiwanese man raised by a Filipino stepmom and hailing from Okinawa is a bit complicated. And so director Huang Yin-yu follows Shingo, his grandmother, and other family on a rare trip to Taiwan, the first time Shingo will see the homeland he’s only ever heard about, and perhaps the last time the 88-year-old Tamayo will see her Taiwanese family and step foot in her hometown.
There are no big revelations in AFTER SPRING, THE TAMAKI FAMILY…, only the generosity of family across seas, generations, and languages, all bearing the legacies of colonization. Unlike popular discourse in Taiwan that is nostalgic for the Japanese period, this documentary shows that for some, especially those who have had to find their own corners between nations and colonies, being stateless, getting used to crossing borders, and pledging allegiance only to family continue to be facts of life. Home video suggests layers of happiness and sadness that the family has since built upon, narration by the grandson adds a solemn bit of self-reflection, and observational footage of grandmother cooking or cousins playing anchor the story in the blessings of family. AFTER SPRING is one of the most wonderful films ever made about the unique circumstances of the Taiwanese diaspora. –Brian Hu