6.9/10
319
3 user 9 critic

The Fourth Portrait (2010)

Di si zhang hua (original title)
Ten year-old Xiang faces a lonely future after his father dies. Just when he thinks he's going to spend his life in the orphanage, his estranged mother shows up. And his life changes ... See full summary »

Director:

Mong-Hong Chung

Writers:

Mong-Hong Chung (screenwriter), Hsiang-Wen Tu (screenwriter)
Reviews
10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Shiao Hai Pi ... Chu Wen-hsiang
Shih-Chieh King ... Chang
Lei Hao ... Wu Chun-Lan
Leon Dai ... Wen-hsiang's stepfather
Na-Dou Lin ... Short and fat petty thief
Terri Kwan ... Huang
Pei-An Lo ... Fat uncle
Vincent Liang ... Policeman
Kuo-Hung Li ... (as Bai Yun)
Hsi-Sheng Chen ... Lee
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chia-Kuei Chen ... Funeral director
Learn more

More Like This 

A Sun (2019)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A family of four fractures under the weight of unmet expectations, unexpected tragedy, and uncompromising pride.

Director: Mong-Hong Chung
Stars: Chien-Ho Wu, Yi-wen Chen, Samantha Shu-Chin Ko
Godspeed (2016)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Taiwanese drug smuggler catches a ride with the wrong cab driver.

Director: Mong-Hong Chung
Stars: Michael Hui, Na-Dou Lin, Leon Dai
Soul (2013)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An unsettling thriller which takes an unflinching look at demonic possession.

Director: Mong-Hong Chung
Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, Hsiao-chuan Chang, Shiang-chyi Chen
Parking (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

On Mother's Day in Taipei, Chen Mo makes a date for dinner with his wife, hoping to bring their estranged relationship back together. While buying a cake on his way home, a car unexpectedly... See full summary »

Director: Mong-Hong Chung
Stars: Chen Chang, Lun-Mei Kwei, Leon Dai
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

One day when Pickle's and his colleague, Belly Bottom's television is broken, their lives are changed forever.

Director: Hsin-yao Huang
Stars: Cres Chuang, Bamboo Chu-Sheng Chen, Leon Dai
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When three rebellious students leave their hometown to pursue their lifelong dreams in the big city, their relationships start to face the pressures of real life as the 1980s Taiwanese ... See full summary »

Director: Ya-che Yang
Stars: Lun-Mei Kwei, Hsiao-chuan Chang, Rhydian Vaughan
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A woman seeking a quiet life in post-World War II British Malaya finds love and a common interest in gardening with a mysterious Japanese man.

Director: Tom Lin
Stars: Angelica Lee, Hiroshi Abe, Sylvia Chang
Monga (2010)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Set in 1980s Taiwan, after the end of military dictatorship, Monga centers around the troubled lives of five boys coming of age together. The narrator of the story, Mosquito, is invited to ... See full summary »

Director: Doze Niu
Stars: Ethan Juan, Mark Chao, Ju-Lung Ma
Love I (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Eight people try to end their loneliness by searching for that one person to love, who can make their life complete.

Director: Doze Niu
Stars: Qi Shu, Mark Chao, Wei Zhao
Detention (2019)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1962 Taiwan during the White Terror martial law period, Fang Ray Shin, a female student at the hillside Greenwood High School is attending counselling with teacher Mr. Chang, and they ... See full summary »

Director: John Hsu
Stars: Gingle Wang, Meng-Po Fu, Jing-Hua Tseng
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Madame Tang colludes and mediates between the government and the private businesses for the benefits of her all-female family. One case does not go according to plan, and an entire family close to Madame Tang fall victim to a cruel murder.

Director: Ya-che Yang
Stars: Kara Wai, Ke-Xi Wu, Vicky Chen
Dear Ex (2018)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A teenage boy and his mother are further driven apart when they find out that his father's life insurance policy is to be received by his lover.

Directors: Chih-Yen Hsu, Mag Hsu
Stars: Roy Chiu, Ying-Xuan Hsieh, Spark Chen
Edit

Storyline

Ten year-old Xiang faces a lonely future after his father dies. Just when he thinks he's going to spend his life in the orphanage, his estranged mother shows up. And his life changes forever... A loveless mother, a hateful stepfather, a chilly home. Where's Xiang heading to? He finds comfort in drawing and his work reveals his longing for care and affection. Life is full of hope again when he meets the old school janitor who doesn't show his kindness easily and a portly man who has crazy ideas and is haunted with nightmares of his brother. A scary truth is about to be unmasked. Will Xiang be able to depict his own image in the fourth portrait? Written by Locarno Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When filming the scene where the violent Dad kicking the child, the child actor Bi was very well-padded and mattresses were laid on the ground where he was going to fall. In such a protective environment, it was hard for the director to capture the right expressions and gestures he wanted. Hence, the director asked the lead actor Leon Dai to push Bi unnoticeably, and Bi fell off a chair by accident. Bi was shocked, physically hurt, but he continued to film while crying hard. While Bi was left with a trauma, the accident did give the director a successful scene. See more »

Connections

References Easy Rider (1969) See more »

User Reviews

 
A flawed but ultimately quietly affecting portrait of a young boy's search for his identity
13 December 2010 | by moviexclusiveSee all my reviews

In his sophomore feature film outing, director Chung Mong-Hong has crafted a quietly affecting drama that couldn't be more different from his debut- the urban black comedy "Parking". "The Fourth Portrait" is Chung's attempt to paint a bleak yet realistic look at one child's search for his identity amidst a turbulent society fraught with issues of poverty, domestic violence and foreign immigrants.

That child is 10-year-old boy Xiang (newcomer Bi Xiao-hai), who in the film's brilliant opening scene, watches his ailing father pass away in hospital. From the very beginning, Chung lets his audience know that he is not out for cheap sentimentality- rather than portray Xiang as the pitiful child suddenly bereft of his father, Chung depicts him as quite the sharp fellow, smart enough to place a napkin over his father's mouth so he doesn't have to lean in all the time to know when his father has breathed his last breath.

The dad's funeral reveals the first of four portraits drawn by Xiang, a somewhat cartoonish drawing of his father used as the funeral photo to largely amusing effect. Like the first portrait, the ensuing ones are a reflection of the people whose relationships have made a significant difference in his life- including a portly loutish thief nicknamed "Big Gun" (TV veteran Na Dow) who introduces him to a life of crime and his missing older brother whom he has mysterious dreams of.

Both follow from social services' decision to send him to live with his estranged mom (Hao Lei), a prostitute now married to an abusive fishmonger (Leon Dai). Xiang feels acutely that he is unwelcome in the family, and so finds company instead with "Big Gun". The unlikely friendship is a welcome source of broad humour in the film, culminating in a hilarious scene where he paints the second portrait as part of his schoolwork.

Whereas the first half of the film still had some levity, Chung takes the latter half in a decidedly darker course with the subplot of Chung's older brother's unsolved disappearance- also apparent from the nature of the third portrait. The change in tone is handled quite abruptly and there is a clear sense that Chung and his co-screenwriter Tu Hsiang-Wen have deliberately chosen to eschew narrative continuity in favour of episodic encounters of Xiang with various characters. As a result, the film feels uneven, a whole less than the sum of its distinct parts.

Still if the film manages to remain consistently absorbing, it is due to the uniformly excellent performances of each and every one of its cast. Hao Lei is heart-wrenching as Xiang's mother, particularly in one scene where she relates her struggles to Xiang's teacher of surviving as a Chinese immigrant in a foreign land- her acting certainly deserving of the recent Golden Horse Best Supporting Actress win. But the biggest praise should be reserved for newcomer Bi Xiao-hai whose unaffected performance and quiet magnetism carries the entire film from start to finish.

Along the way, Chung briefly hints at societal issues of poverty, domestic violence and immigration but doesn't dwell enough at them to make much of an impression. Instead, he keeps the film steadfastly focused as a slow-burning coming-of-age story of a young boy grappling with the changing relationships in his life. The last portrait is a befitting end to this journey, but viewers are well advised that it will take patience to get there. For those who do, you'll be rewarded with a moving portrait of finding one's identity.

  • www.moviexclusive.com


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

Taiwan

Language:

Mandarin | Hokkien

Release Date:

22 October 2010 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

Czwarty portret See more »

Edit

Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,254
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed