In 1949, the Communists take over mainland. The refugees and the military arrive in the Keelung Harbor in Taiwan. While the father holds secret meetings with other generals in attempt to ...
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In 1949, the Communists take over mainland. The refugees and the military arrive in the Keelung Harbor in Taiwan. While the father holds secret meetings with other generals in attempt to recover the lost land, the kids still play games with their grandma who still enjoys the harmony and peace in hardship. Gradually, it seems that there was no hope to fight back the fatherland. The general turned father has to run a small business to support the family. He encounters a series of struggles. And finally his kids grow up. Written by
Director Wang Tung reminisces about growing up as a mainlander in Taiwan
Red Persimmon begins with a family preparing to flee mainland China after the communist victory in 1949. Leaving in a hurry, they can take little with them, while also hoping for a quick return home. When the family takes a boat to Taiwan, the father, a KMT commander, stays behind. The mother, with her nine children and their grandma, take up residence in a Japanese style house in Taipei and wait for news.
So begins this charming film, which expresses itself through vignettes that eventually cover a long period of time, rather than through a tightly woven plot. It is perhaps one of the director's most personal films, since it is quite autobiographical. It is also quite long and loosely structured, which suits the reminiscent feel of the material well. There would be little point in recounting details of the plot, and it suffices to highlight a few basic themes: the need of the family, and especially the father, to 'move on' after losing the mainland and everything they left behind there. There are the usual struggles of growing up, growing old, and struggling to make a living, though none of these are greatly emphasised so as to become long story arcs.
So loosely structured, even unfocused, and yet it works, much like human life itself when it is lived. These are the director's memories of growing up. Many in his Taiwanese audience, no doubt, share them. As such, it is a film which concentrates on the mainlanders' experiences to a far greater extent than their effect on the native Taiwanese. Other director's however, have touched on such issues, and there is no obligation to cover every aspect of a given situation. This is a personal film from the director, and relates his own family's experiences. As such, it does a commendable job, especially in capturing a 'period feel' (though without the musical soundtrack). It may no be to everyone's taste, but readers will be able to judge from this brief description whether it may be of interest to them or not.
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