In 1949, 20-something Kuei-Mei emigrates from mainland China to Taiwan and marries a widower with three children. She soon discovers that he is irresponsible and has a gambling problem, leaving her the sole provider for their family. After giving birth to twins, she works as a migrant laborer in Tok...(Read more)
In 1949, 20-something Kuei-Mei emigrates from mainland China to Taiwan and marries a widower with three children. She soon discovers that he is irresponsible and has a gambling problem, leaving her the sole provider for their family. After giving birth to twins, she works as a migrant laborer in Tokyo for better wages, later returning to Taipei and opening a restaurant there. Just as the restaurant is doing booming business and their situation is better, Kuei-Mei’s husband has an affair, and their now-teenage daughter gets pregnant. Despite the troubles, Kuei-Mei once again takes care of things. Finally, their children grow up and Kuei-Mei can relax. Until she discovers she has cancer….
This film was made in 1985, when Taiwan New Cinema was experimenting with language and social issues. Director Chang Yi adopts a transparent linguistic style and the classic three-act structure to create an amateur melodrama which reveals another face of Taiwan New Cinema. This film is adapted from a novel by Hsiao, describing not merely a woman’s life but Taiwan’s social and political progress between the 1960s and 1980s. It shows backgrounds and phenomenon such as the U.S. Aid period, the “living rooms as factories,” home-based assembly lines, and Taipei’s changing cityscape. Kuei-Mei’s femininity serves as an allegory for the nation, transforming from girl to mother when she leaves mainland China for Taiwan, where she raises her children. That’s why she names her restaurant after Shanghai’s main street.
Taiwanese tradition likens fertile land to a mother, creating life in the truest sense of the term “motherland.” Both the family, and by analogy the nation, are built on the sacrifices of the “mother.” The family-as-nation metaphor continues throughout the movie, with the family’s economic rise mirroring Taiwan’s own economic rise from poverty as the nation industrialized. Kuei-Mei’s uterine cancer in her fifties symbolizes the consequences of modernization, such as social alienation and environmental pollution, an implicit, physical critique on capitalism and patriarchy. The physical performance of lead actress Yang Hui-Shang, who put on significant weight to play Kuei-Mei, was magnificent both on and off screen. From cult sexploitation films like Never Too Late to Repent (1979) and Nude Body Case in Tokyo (1981) to Chang Yi’s trilogy of literary adaptions Jade Love (1984), Kuei-Mei, a Woman and This Love Of Mine (1986), Yang has explored practically all angles of portraying femininity.
DVD source：Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C.
|Language：||Mandarin, Taiwanese, Japanese|
|Producer：||HSU Hsin-Chih, LIN Deng-Fei, HSU Kuo-Liang|
|Actors：||Loretta Hui-shan YANG, LEE Li-Chun|
|Screenplay：||HSIAO Sa, CHANG Yi|
|Excluded for public screenings：||Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan|
The royalty period of this film has expired. Taiwan Cinema Toolkit could no longer authorize screenings.
Central Motion Picture Corporation
1985 Golden Horse Awards, Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Leading Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay Awards
1986 Asia-Pacific Film Festival, Best Director Award