Festival Opening & Special Presentation
A jilted widow must make peace with her late husband’s temperamental former lover in this sensitive comedic drama from Taiwan.
Southeast AsianTaiwan / 2018 / 99 MIN / Mandarin / R21: Homosexual Theme
Song (Taiwanese rocker and composer Spark Chen) dies of cancer, leaving in his wake a son, a wife and a male lover—Jay (Roy Chiu), who has been named the sole beneficiary of Song’s life insurance policy. A battle ensues between Song’s enraged and neurotic widow, San-lian (Hsieh Ying-xuan), and the cantankerous Jay over who is more deserving of the money—in other words, which of them was more loved by Song.
Driven away by his overbearing mother, Song’s adolescent son, Cheng-xi, moves in with Jay and ends up as an unwilling mediator between the two warring adults. Together, the trio embark upon the difficult path of grieving: a journey they can only traverse with compassion and respect for each other’s memories of their beloved.
With its bright, saturated colour palette and dramatic performances, Dear Ex cleverly employs the aesthetics of rom-coms and soap operas to explore serious themes of loss, identity and acceptance. In light of Taiwan’s recent legalisation of gay marriage (and subsequent pushback from the nation’s conservative faction, who want to reverse it), the film is a timely one, fleshing out the complexities of a pertinent issue that is both national and personal.
The debut feature of directing collaborators Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen, Dear Ex was a resounding success at the 2018 Taipei Film Festival, winning four awards: Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Actress and the Audience Award. The film had its world premiere at Far East Film Festival 2018 in Udine, Italy.
Cast & Credits
Mag Hsu is a veteran television writer and director from Taiwan who has enjoyed commercial and critical success throughout Asia.
Hsu Chih-yen is a filmmaker whose oeuvre consists primarily of music videos made for Taiwan’s leading hip-hop artists.
Lu Shih-yuan, Maggie Pan
Mag Hsu, Lu Shih-yuan
Roy Chiu, Hsieh Ying-xuan, Spark Chen, Joseph Huang
*Official Selection, Far East Film Festival 2018