Because his mother has to leave the country to attend to his father who got injured while working overseas, Dou Dou, a five-year-old boy, must go to a small town on the coast and spend his summer vacation with his grandma, whom he has never met. His fear of the fishing village where his grandma live...(Read more)
Because his mother has to leave the country to attend to his father who got injured while working overseas, Dou Dou, a five-year-old boy, must go to a small town on the coast and spend his summer vacation with his grandma, whom he has never met. His fear of the fishing village where his grandma lives is only surpassed by the old woman’s house itself, a traditional country dwelling of San-ho-yuan, which is home to strange things. It turns out that his grandma has “magic” and communicates with deities and ghosts. She knows how to drive away evil spirits and perform rites to lead the dead down to the underworld. Getting along with grandma, Dou Dou enters the world of folk customs and beliefs of rural Taiwan. In the end, he regrets making a deal with a demon-possessed cat to sell his grandma to the demons, and has to rescue her to whom he has become deeply attached.
Wang Shaudi’s first animation production summons a troupe of top Taiwanese animators, and, using hand-drawing rather than 3D CGI, creates a Taiwanese cartoon different from Disney or Miyazaki. Though its style is simple, the story it tells is delicate and profound. The narrative of family melodrama (from conflict to resolution) leads into fantastic customs and rituals which are genuinely Taiwanese. The forbidden world of “death, afterlife and ghosts,” usually hidden from kids as much as possible, is brought to the foreground to let the kids meet and understand the dark side of life. No other cartoons in Taiwan could do such a work for kids with such an endearing story in such a colorful style.
It’s a pity that it failed to win the Best Animation of Golden Horse Awards because it was considered superstitious in the eyes of some of the jury members. For adults, the story also harbors some serious social issues: migrant labor in a globalized world (e.g. Dou Dou’s father), child-raising in two-income families, intimacy/alienation between grandparents and grandchildren, the city-country conflict, the fading away of traditional fishing village life, and the environmental damage to the coast as a result of industrialization and economic development. The senior actress dubbing the grandma in the film is Wen Ying, who is the quintessential screen icon of a Taiwanese grandma to film audiences.
DVD source：Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C.
|Subtitle：||Chinese, English, French, Japanese, German, Russian, Spanish|
|Actors：||WEN Ying (voice)、CHUANG Po-Wen (voice)|
|Music：||SHIH Jei-Young (Gerald SHI)|
|Excluded for public screenings：||South Korea|
Theroyalty period of this film has expired. Taiwan Cinema Toolkit could no longer authorizescreenings.
Rice Film International Co. Ltd.
1999 Taipei Film Festival, Best Film Award