Life, Family, and Resilience: The Human Experience Captured in Under an Hour
April 27, 2019
by Kirby Ortego
Shiang An Chuang’s MAMA PINGPONG SOCIAL CLUB follows A-mien, a mother who is trying to find new meaning in her life after her husband has an affair. A-mien finds no consolation from her only daughter so she seeks refuge among a nearby women’s pingpong club. She discovers many new things after joining the club that she was definitely not expecting to learn. A-mien must utilize her experiences in the club when she is confronted by her daughter’s pressing matter. The story is touching and emotional, with twists and turns that will be sure to keep you on your toes. MAMA PINGPONG SOCIAL CLUB beautifully captures the struggles of motherhood, the importance of finding a support system, and having resilience through the agonies life puts us through.
A frightening tale filled with thrilling mystery, THE VISIT by Roxy Shih will make you never want to leave your grandparents’ side again. THE VISIT portrays the story of mother-to-be Yi-Hua and her husband’s visit to Yi-Hua’s grandmother Nai-Nai in the countryside. Yi-Hua does her best to make her grandmother’s life easier and constantly worries over her. Meanwhile, Nai-Nai clashes with Yi-Hua and prefers to do everything herself. When Nai-Nai briefly disappears on her own and returns with strange stories, Yi-Hua finds out the disturbing circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s disappearance. Can Yi-Hua protect the woman who had raised her? THE VISIT is fifteen minutes of bone-chilling mystery that will lure you in, with an ending that will keep you guessing.
GENTLEMAN SPA by Yu Jhi-han is a story of finding love in others and in yourself. Hao is a janitor at a gay spa. He is surrounded by attractive masseurs which makes him uncomfortable with his chubbier build. One day, Hao meets a handsome customer, Kai, who he quickly develops feelings for. He desperately tries to learn how to be a masseur to impress Kai, but he finds that things do not exactly go according to plan. GENTLEMAN SPA encapsulates what it is like to be a young man maintaining a love life while struggling to be confident on what is seen on the outside.
In Ray Wu’s MERRY-GO-ROUND, Ko is a security guard of an amusement park. Twenty years ago, he lost a little bit of color in his life when his daughter went missing. His experience haunts him all over again when a mother loses her daughter in the park. Ko promises to find the little girl to prevent the mother from enduring the same pain he has been feeling for nearly two decades. MERRY-GO-ROUND is a heartwarming story that may make you shed a few tears. It is about being a parent, losses we experience in life, and how we make sure the merry-go-round of life continues to turn.
A beautiful series of art and storytelling, Li-Wei Lin’s I CAN’T BRING YOU AWAY paints the hard truths of growing up through animation. The piece is completely hand-drawn by Li-Wei himself as well as a team of talented animators. It is both visually stunning and hauntingly melancholic. Created through the most childlike platform of storytelling, I CAN’T BRING YOU AWAY uses whimsical and wildly imaginative visuals to portray one of the hardest things mankind has had to deal with for centuries: leaving our childhood behind. Li-Wei’s masterpiece proves that “adulting” may be a fun word but the process towards becoming an adult comes with much sacrifice as times passes by.
These short films are part of “Spotlight on Taiwan,” supported by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of China (Taiwan) and Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles.
Kirby Ortego is a Los Angeles native currently a senior at California State University, Northridge, pursuing two Bachelor Degrees in Multimedia Production and Asian American Studies. She is also very active with the National Psoriasis Foundation and CSUN’s Filipino American Student Association. Kirby hopes to one day be a film editor while still striving to be active within the Asian American community.