In Taiwanese culture, questioning a mother’s love is taboo. But as filmmaker Hui-chen Huang sets out on a journey with her mother, such an inquiry forms the basis for an intimate exploration of a complex and nuanced relationship. Huang seeks to understand her mother, Anu, who took the radical step in the 1970s of leaving her violent husband and raising her two children alone, forging an unusual path in which herfemale lovers have all shared her profession as a Taoist priestess and professional mourner.
As a child, Huang was enlisted as an assistant to her mother, leaving school in the third grade to earn money to support their family. Her mother was rarely at home, spending time out with girlfriends. As the story unfolds, issues of trust, abuse and reconciliation come to the fore, as Huang begins to ask the questions that have tormented herthroughout her life. A Teddy Award winner for Best Documentary at the Berlinale film festival, Small Talk employs the long-take aesthetic of Taiwanese arthouse cinema. (The executive producer is celebrated Taiwanese filmmaker Hsiao-hsien Hou.) Through often unresolved conversations with her mother, as well as interviews with hermother’s siblings and ex-lovers, Huang reveals the complex and changing landscape for Taiwanese women.
Director: Hui-chen Huang, Taiwan. 1 hour, 28 minutes