Between Father and Son
Ronin Hsu / HK, 2022 / 73 min.
A patient family portrait in black-and-white, featuring an elderly father, who lives with his wife in the Chinese countryside, and their alcoholic son, who lives in the city. At his parents’ home, his isolation becomes tangible.
This portrait of a Chinese family centers on the paterfamilias, who at the age of 85 still works his land by hand every day, his wife, who feeds and slaughters the chickens, and one of their sons, who lives in an apartment in the city and spends his days keeping company with his television and a steady flow of alcohol.
Crisp black-and-white images capture faces, activities, rituals and gatherings of the entire family, including grandchildren, around the dining table in the family home. The largely static camerawork invites you to observe their roles and relationships. Out in the field, the old man replies to the chirping of the birds, but in the house his taciturn nature is dominant. It is here that the son’s isolation becomes painfully tangible.
In documenting his own family, filmmaker Ronin Hsu exposes recognizable and universal family themes. Including the indisputable fact that every father is also a son.
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