Made up of three episodes, each featuring a mother and a daughter, this film can be looked at as a film about a little girl growing up. For example, the little girl in the first episode helps her physically challenged father in begging. Her mother fails to feel any affection for this husband and wanders elsewhere. The girl imagines that her parents’ fights are them dancing, but in the second episode where the girl with this background starts puberty, she starts to feel animosity towards her mother. To this 17 year-old, who steals and uses other people’s ID cards to forget herself, her mother is someone who might as well not be in the world. She runs away from home and, failing to adapt to any one place, falls in love and has an affair with a married man, gradually losing her self-identity. However, in the last episode, the woman has already reached her thirties, and puts out a hand of reconciliation to her sick mother.
A quick observer in the audience will probably be able to see that the daughter likes to draw like her mother does, and that butterflies are their motifs. Butterflies signify change. They are always trying to get away from reality but as her mother found out, it is not easy. Perhaps this is because the relationship between parents and children is not one we have a choice about. This film delicately twists its form and content to focus on the relationship between mother and daughter. The last scene, in which the heroine smiles brightly towards the camera, is the most hope-filled and brightest scene in the film.
Vivian ChangVivian Chang
Born in Taiwan, Vivian Chang first studied sociology but switched to film after leaving for the U.S. where she studied film production at Boston University. In 1996, she worked as assistant director to Sylvia Chang’s Tonight Nobody Goes Home, and worked on Tsai Ming-Liang’s The Hole in 1998. Hidden Whisper is her first feature.