Title: Artemisia AKA: Ai Tsao Cast: Tang Cheng Gang, Mo Tze Yi, Pan Li Li, Chuo Heng Yin Director: Chiang Hsiu Chiung Writer: Tseng Yu Chieh Music: Li Hsin Yun Genre: Drama, Boys Love Release Year: 2009 Runtime: 85 min Country: Taiwan Language: Mandarin Subtitle: Chinese only (Hardcoded)
Chiang Hsiu Chiung's feature directorial debut "Artemisia" is nothing short of excellence. The film is an affectional and beautiful portrait of a loving mother Ai-chao who struggles to cope with her family's affairs that reflect the changing society in Taiwan.
Ai-chao (艾草) means Artemisia. It's also the name of this film's protagonist — a 58-year-old Taiwanese woman. When Ai-chao was young, without her mother's approval, she married to her mainland born husband who was 20 years her senior. After her husband died 20 years ago, she raised her closeted gay son and her daughter by herself. Now, not only her children have grown up, the social norm in Taiwan has also changed. It's Ai-chao's turn to face the reality in her family affairs. Despite the conflicts and gaps in generations and culture, the bond and love in a family ultimately prevail.
This deeply affectionate and heartwarming film embraces family, love, and the turbulent journey of understanding and accepting each other in a changing society. Either coming from her own or influenced by directors Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the film definitely has a resemblance in the storytelling style to films by Yang and Hou. The film's engrossing story and lively characters are naturally developed and effortlessly win over our hearts.
"Artemisia" is the winner of the Golden Gate Awards in the Television Narrative Long Form category at 2009 San Francisco International Film Festival.