Fri, Oct 29, 2010 - Page 17 News List

Mothers and daughters

Chang Tso-chi abandons the low-life male protagonists of his former movies in ‘When Love Comes,’ a film driven by women that stays the right side of melodrama

By Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

The cast members turn in nuanced and natural performances in When Love Comes, and garnered three Golden Horse nominations for their efforts.

Photo courtesy of Swallow Wings

Director Chang Tso-chi’s (張作驥) cinematic world is usually populated by social underdogs, gangsters and men trapped in vicious cycles of violence. But in When Love Comes (當愛來的時候), his newest film, females take center stage in a tale that follows the road to reconciliation and understanding that the members of an extended family travel down.

Chang’s latest drama begins with 16-year-old Laichun (Li Yi-chieh, 李亦捷) walking through a bustling eatery in a traditional market. We quickly learn it’s a family business and the voice and thoughts of the teenage girl transport us into her hectic family life.

Her father, Dark Face (Lin Yu-shun, 林郁順), comes from a poor family in Kinmen and married Xue Feng (Lu Xue-feng, 呂雪鳳), whose wealthy family lacks a male heir. Xue Feng is infertile and allows Dark Face to keep his childhood lover Zhihua (He Zi-hua, 何子華), who bears him two daughters (Laichun and Lairi) and a boy, as a concubine. They all live together under one roof, but home life is far from easygoing.

Jie, Dark Face’s autistic younger brother, moves in with the family, causing yet more squabbles. Domestic quarrels soon turn into a full-blown crisis when Laichun becomes pregnant and her boyfriend disappears.

The family’s females- — its powerful matriarch, dutiful mistress and teenager struggling to come to terms with the abrupt end to her adolescence — dominate the house. Dark Face is meek but thoughtful, a henpecked figure dissimilar to any of the father characters in Chang’s previous works, which include drunks, gamblers and irresponsible men who abandon their families.

Chang’s trademark fatalism mellows when toward the end of the film tragedy strikes and the women band together, offering each other solace.

When Love Comes 當愛來的時候

DIRECTED BY: Chang Tso-chi (張作驥)

STARRING: Li Yi-CHIEH (李亦捷) as Laichun, Lu Xue-feng (呂雪鳳) as Xue Feng, Lin Yu-shun (林郁順) as Dark Face, He Zi-hua (何子華) as Zhihua, Kao Meng-jie (高盟傑) as Jie

Language: Mandarin and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese)with Chinese and English subtitles



The director imbues his characters with warmth and humor and constructs an authentic family setting that could easily have veered off into the melodramatic in less talented hands.

Known for his cold treatment of the world in films like The Best of Times (美麗時光, 2002) and Soul of a Demon (蝴蝶, 2008), and giving his desperate protagonists magical moments that allow them to temporarily escape the cruelty of their lives, with When Love Comes the director seems to have broken many of his filmmaking habits.

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