THE LAST VERSE
Directed by Tseng Ying-Ting
Official Selection, 2017 Busan International Film Festival
Best Actress, Best Actor in a TV Movie, 2017 Golden Bell Awards
Ren-jie and Xiao-ping are young, in love, and ready for a lifetime of happiness. It’s the year 2000 in Taiwan, and a historic election spells the dawn of a new era. As it does in any epoch, adulthood rears its inconvenient head: the couple are separated by military service, the economy tumbles, jealousy swoops in. But their dreams are going to take an especially hard tumble. Ren-jie’s father leaves a massive debt. The years pass. In politics as in love, the languages of reality versus idealism clash and the world zooms by. Ren-jie and Xiao-ping on the other hand, are running in place.
Taiwan’s most ambitious and accomplished allegorical melodrama since the new wave is an unapologetic, passionate tragedy. Spanning a decade and a half and across three presidential administrations, THE LAST VERSE tracks in human terms real estate bubbles, political corruption, market liberalization, and dwindling spirits. Long, tough sequences of anguish alternate with quick flash-forwards across calendar years, leaving scars and memories in their wake, a heart-racing challenge to a story that craves above all else a moment’s peace to savor what romantic dreams still remain. –Brian Hu