Murmur of the Hearts | Nian Nian | 2016 Seattle International Film Festival
Hong Kong | 2015 | 119 minutes | Sylvia Chang
Taiwanese actress and filmmaker Sylvia Chang's tour-de-force family drama blends fantasy and reality for a stirring tale about two estranged siblings who reconnect through the shared memories of their mother's fairy tales of phantoms and mermaids.
Nan and Mei are brother and sister growing up on beautiful Green Island, near Taiwan. Enthralled by their mother's tales of mermaids and angels, they long to know the world beyond the sea. After their parents separate, Mei goes to Taipei with her mother, while Nan stays on Green Island with his father. Now in their 20s, the separated siblings must contend with the emotional fallout of this event. Mei (Isabella Leong) is a Taipei-based painter, teaching art to young children while struggling through a tempestuous relationship with Hsiang, an aspiring boxer with his own ghosts to battle. Nan (Lawrence Ko), meanwhile, is a local tour guide on Green Island, estranged from his family as well as his rotating series of temporary friends. Though alienated from each other, Nan and Mei's stories flow together, blending with childhood memories and their mother's fairy tales into a magical meditation on the meaning of life itself. From illustrious actress/director/writer/producer Sylvia Chang (who can also be seen at this year's Festival in Mountains May Depart), returning to the director's chair after seven years, this is a stirring ensemble drama whose emotional force sustains a rich narrative of impressive power and range.
Sylvia Chang was born in 1953 in Chiayi, Taiwan. She is an actress, writer, and director, known for 20 30 40 in 2004, Salé Sucré in 2004, and Ah Long Dik Goo Si in 1989. Murmur of the Hearts is her latest feature.
Sponsored by Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco
Director: Sylvia Chang
Principal Cast: Isabella Leong, Chang Hsiao-Chuan, Lawrence Ko, Lee Sinje