Taiwanese drama 'A Sun' makes Variety's list of best films in 2020

12/10/2020 09:27 PM
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A poster for the film, "A Sun." Photo from the Applause Entertainment website
A poster for the film, "A Sun." Photo from the Applause Entertainment website

Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) The Taiwanese family drama "A Sun (陽光普照)," has been named as one of "the best films of 2020" by the American weekly entertainment publication Variety.

Directed and co-written by Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏), the movie was hailed by the magazine as addressing universal truths about the way approval and encouragement work in parent-child relationships.

It was selected by American film critic Peter Debruge for Variety's list of best 2020 movies, which was published Tuesday, and is also Taiwan's contender for the best international feature film at the 93rd Academy Awards next February.

The 2019 movie is about a family thrown into chaos when the youngest son is placed in juvenile detention.

In an interview in Nov. 2019, Chung, who won Best Director with the film at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards, said it was inspired by stories he came across by coincidence, as well as his own parenting experience.

The movie's selection for Variety's list of best films in 2020 followed its acquisition by Netflix, which Debruge said will give millions of subscribers worldwide a chance to experience the "epic redemption saga."

"A Sun "opens with a shock (as a man's severed hand lands in a steaming hot pot) and continues to surprise as characters we think we understand at first glance gradually reveal what they're capable of," Debruge wrote.

He also said it is emblematic of the state of cinema in 2020 that the best film of the year in Taiwan, winner of five Golden Horse Awards, should land on Netflix, the media company that has benefitted most from the void left by studios during the pandemic.

It is more fitting that "when asked, the company's PR team didn't realize they had even acquired the film," Debruge said.

A still from "A Sun". Photo courtesy of Applause Entertainment
A still from "A Sun". Photo courtesy of Applause Entertainment

With its focus on family conflict, "A Sun" is a cinematic work that all audiences find relatable, seasoned film critic Lan Tsu-wei (藍祖蔚) told CNA upon learning of the selection.

The film resonates with viewers because it touches on universal family values and addresses issues stemming from family divisions and relationships between father and son, mother and son, and mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, said Lan, who also chairs the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute.

His other selections on the Variety list include the 2020 American drama "Nomadland" and English actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's latest satirical film "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm."

"A Sun's" prizes at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards included Best Feature Film, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Film Editing.

Trailer of "A Sun"

(By Wang Hsin-yu and Chung Yu-chen)

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