‘A Family Tour’: An overwhelming tale of emotions
Ying Liang’s ‘A Family Tour’ is an emotionally-packed story that portrays an intense web of relationships. It shows the chaos of a Chinese protagonist who is compelled to live in exile. The protagonist is a filmmaker who has been deported to Hong Kong for making a movie that is banned in China.
The Taiwan movie focuses mainly on three characters. The theme of the movie is about a lady who goes through an emotional turmoil as she is forced to live away from her mother and homeland. Yang Shu, the protagonist, is a woman who plans a tour with her husband and son to Taiwan to meet her mother who lives in China. The name of the movie is quite ironical as it is no longer a real ‘family’ tour. Yang Shu and her mother have to conceal their relationship in public due to the rules in China. The people who live in exile are not supposed to keep ties with their family living in their homeland. The film proceeds with the existential crisis that Yang Shu faces as she is distanced from her mother. Even her 3-year-old son is asked not to reveal that the old lady was her grandmother.
The movie is said to be highly autobiographical as the Chinese filmmaker Ying had to live in Hong Kong for making a controversial feature about the mass murder in Shangai. Due to the emotional dilemma that the filmmaker had gone through, he could present the movie in a way which touches the audience’s heart deeply. The filmmaker has unveiled a political subject packed with passionate emotions between a mother and daughter. The screenplay was penned by Liang Ying and Wai Chan. The dialogues are brief, crisp and highly political.
It is a realistic and in-depth portrayal of relationships between mother-daughter, husband-wife and grandmother-grandchild. It shows people who struggle to fulfil their familial bonds due to the tyrannical intervention from the rules in a country. Zhe Gong was able to capture the meticulous details of the dilemma that Yang had faced. Nai An has played as her mother Chen in a simple yet touching way. Both of them are helped in their challenging life with Yang’s kind husband Kaming (Pete Thao). The movie has become an overwhelming experience with the versatile acting of these three stars. Their son little Tham Xin Yue has also performed excellently. ‘A Family Tour’ is a simple yet deeply-reflective drama on human relationships and existential crisis.