LONG TIME NO SEA (只有大海知道) | Free and Open To the Public 

Taiwan | 2018 | 97 Minutes | DCP | In Mandarin and Tatu w/English subtitles 

Genre: Drama/musical 

Director and Editor: Heather Tsui

Starring: Shang He-huang, Zhong Jia-jun, Feng Ying-li

Film Source: Taiwan Cinema Tool Kit

Manawei, a sweet, clever, and empathetic young boy, lives with his doting grandmother on Orchid Island, southeast of Taiwan, where the two search for ripe fruit in the trees. His mother has passed away, and his father works in Taiwan. Chung-hsun, meanwhile, is a 30-something teacher who comes from the city to work with the indigenous community, using dance to help them get in touch with their own potential as well as their traditions. As the two come together, perhaps they and their dance troupe can make it all the way to the National Aboriginal Dance Competition.

Long Time No Sea, based on the experiences of director Heather Tsui's involvement with the Little Flying Fish Cultural Exhibition Dance Troupe and the children of the Yami people, is full of gentle humor and themes of cultural identity, the visual style capturing the island's beauty as well as the energy of the children in tightly framed shots. And of course, there is a double meaning to the film's title: a nod of appreciation to the surrounding sea as well as Manawei's longing for his father's attention.

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We appreciate Taiwan Cinema Toolkit’s and IIT’s collaboration in premiering this film in Chicago as part of Season Nine’s official selection.