Laha MEBOW Taiwan 111 mins PG13 (Some Coarse Language) Southeast Asian Premiere
A warm indigenous family drama that gently crests and falls, like the seasons of their misty, mountainous homelands.
The Hayung family inhabit the highlands of Taiwan along with other indigenous Atayal people. Held in high esteem by the community, they make a steady living from agriculture and tourism, while the men sometimes have too much to drink. Even when their days are met by ruptures like an elder’s death or land surveys, their faiths—a syncretic mix of their Gaga belief system and Christianity—appear to prevail.
Sensitive towards local specificities, Laha Mebow crafts a narrative that eschews dramatic conceits, opting for a collaboration to honour the ways of her people. A collective realism moves the drama through the seasons (and an election cycle), suturing this family’s fortunes and misfortunes with a palpable tenderness.
Laha MEBOW is the first indigenous female director in Taiwan and an Atayal. Her work tells contemporary stories of the Atayal people in Taiwan. These include Finding Sayun (2011) and the coming-of-age drama Hang In There, Kids! (2016), which took the Grand Prize at the Taipei Film Awards. Gaga is her third feature film and the final instalment of her Atayal trilogy.