A Time in Quchi

"Shu jai zuo ye" (English captions) is a gentle, unpredictable little film from Taiwan that won the Netpac Award at the 2013 Hawaii International Film Festival. Now we see it here at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival and we find it a pleasant way to spend 109 minutes.

Director Chang Tso-Chi is able to draw natural performances from his school-age actors and the few adults in the cast. Our unsmiling young hero Bao is sent to his grandfather's rural home outside of Taipai for the summer, but is dismayed to learn that he will have to attend school while he is there. His parents are both extremely busy with their jobs AND with their pending divorce. To make matters worse, Grandpa doesn't allow TV during meals and makes him go to bed early.

A little gang of boys threatens to make life miserable, but the teaching staff is exemplary and they manage to ease him into the class with very little trouble. His pesky little sister Seaweed shows up and she is a nuisance! Their relationship is soooo real!

Bao is supposed to write a summary of his 21 Days of Summer for his class and he starts out with a pack of outrageous lies. He is uncommuni- cative with his grandfather, a bit rebellious with his parents and an impatient big brother to Seaweed, but as the days go by, he makes a friend on the basketball court, sees a typhoon, and watches his grand- father paint stones to commemorate his loved ones. (Bao's is painted blue because Grandpa sees him as an Avatar!)

Expect the unexpected, okay?