Film Review: A Time in Quchi

By Kevin Young

A Time in Quchi, directed by Tso-chi Chang is the poignant story of growing up and dealing with loss and separation, narrated through the eyes of 10-year-old Bao (Yang Liang-yu). Bao and his troublemaking younger sister are sent off to live with their grandfather in the rural countryside of Taiwan for their summer vacation. They are then required to attend summer camp there and have to adjust from life in the busy city of Taipei to the quiet countryside.

Bao being the older sibling realizes something is amiss with this whole trip. The reality is that his parents often neglect him and have sent their children away so they can settle their divorce. Yet Bao is apathetic to this and shows no emotion to indicate that he cares.

Instead overtime Bao entertains himself in the small village as he has adapted to the rural life and has befriended the other local children. Bao develops a close friendship with Ming-chuan (Hsieh Ming-chuan). The two bond over playing basketball in the pouring rain together. Ming-chuan jokingly foreshadows that Bao should write the required summer essay for camp on himself.

Simultaneously as Bao attends camp and plays with his new friends, Bao’s grandfather is dealing with the loss of his beloved wife. He often reclusively examines a stone painted with his wife’s face and often asks Bao to talk to the stone carving.

The film then starts to progress forward after a horrific typhoon storms through the small village leaving some houses without running water and electricity. This storm shows a stark contrast between the middle class and the poor.

Once Ming-chuan passes away from a fishing accident that Bao realizes he’s not going to be a kid forever. Bao emulates his grandfather by painting a stone with Ming-chuan’s face as a way to physically still have him around. To honor Ming-chuan, Bao decides to base his summer essay off of him.

Bao sorrowfully looks to his grandfather for comfort but his grandfather only gives him tough-love advice by saying “get used to the loneliness.” Bao later has to deal with his grandfather being sick in the hospital.

The overall theme of this somber tale is that life is always changing and it’s always going to throw obstacles at you. Bao learns to accept and adapt to all of these changes from losing a best-friend to realizing your separated parents neglect you, and to letting go of the past.

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