SIFF 2018 Review: Love Education
Sylvia Chang is director, writer, and actress in Love Education. She plays Qui Huiying, a take-charge woman who is an about-to-retire schoolteacher, domineering wife and mother, and recently-bereaved daughter who has just lost her mother. She gets it in her head to have the grave of her father moved from a remote Chinese village to the city, to lie next to her mother’s ashes. Standing in her way is wizened old Granny, her father’s village wife, who fiercely defends the grave; it is the only thing she has of her husband. Qui Huiying’s hen-pecked and patient husband tries to be a peacekeeper, but rebellious daughter Weiwei, who works on a Jerry Springer-type show, manages to rile everything up by filming the physical and verbal fights between the women in this dramedy of errors.
You could label the plot as a human interest story. The story is told with an agreeable mixture of humor, and sympathy. Sylvia Chang is not a terribly likeable character early on as she walks over everyone to get her way. But Chang is a very experienced actress, and she is able to subtly transform herself by the end of the film. Granny, however, really takes the show despite the fact that she utters very few words throughout. This was an all-around fun film and it translates very well for an American audience.
As an aside, I was happy to see, after years of conflicts and non-recognition of each other’s country, that China and Taiwan joined forces on producing this film.
This movie was reviewed as part of coverage for the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF 2018).