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A Fish Out of Water Image

A Fish Out of Water

Shang’an de yu

Gateway | Dragons & Tigers

Yi-an is a young Taiwanese boy with who perplexes his parents: he speaks in a slightly creepy cold-eyed monotone, all the while claiming that he has another mother and another father, who brought him up in a seaside town. His non-imaginary parents, played to subtle perfection by Cheng Jen-shuo and Peggy Tseng, are at first disconcerted, then worried, then alarmed enough to take Yi-an to a psychiatric specialist equipped with an alarming brain-electrode helmet. But is Yi-an in fact disturbed? Clairvoyant? Gifted? Haunted? This graceful, soft-voiced, immaculately shot and ultimately deeply moving story keeps all options open.

Lai Kuo-an’s delicately etched family story unfolds as the financial and psychological stresses on Yi-an’s parents—his mother struggles as a real estate agent, his father makes dumplings and takes care of his own ailing father—come to a boiling point. This is finely observed social realism married with intimations of something more magical: first time director Lai achieves a remarkable, utterly original, exquisitely poised balance in this impressively achieved film. Mixing sadness, compassion and mystery, Lai portrays a family stressed to the breaking point, struggling to reach out to grasp a happiness that may be just out of reach.
Shelly Kraicer

Preceded By: Hsiang Yi

Director: Wu Zi En / Taiwan, 2017, 16 min.
Two boys have an extraordinary day in this meticulously designed, heartbreakingly lovely story.
Director Lai Kuo-an
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Year: 2017
Running Time: 95 mins
Format: DCP
Language:In Mandarin with English subtitles
Cast: Pai Junto, Peggy Tseng, Cheng Ren-shuo
Executive Producer: Albert Yao, Teng Wen-chuan
Producer: Gene Yao, Jason Liao
Cinematographer: Hsu Chih-chun
Editor: Lin Zih-sian, Lai Kuo-an, Gene Yao
Music: Blaire Ko
Art Director: Wang Chih-cheng
Production Company: Rediron Films / Swallow Wings Films
Print Source: MK2 Mile End
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