• Golden Globe Awards

Tigertail (USA)

This film starts with Pin-Jui (Tzi-Ma), a little boy running through a sweeping rice field, calling out for his mother and father in the distance. We realize that what he sees is not real but rather the image he conjures up because he misses them so much. His father has died and his mother, in pursuit of better job opportunities, has left him with his grandparents.
His grandmother is a stern woman who is very good at teaching her grandson how to survive but lacks the emotional capacity to show her feelings, as a lot of survival-oriented generations have done. This comes back to haunt Pin-Jui later when he marries a woman he barely knows (Kunjue Li) because her father is paying for their move to the US, and even later when he tries and fails to deal with his own daughter’s emotional upheavals.
The immigrant-father and his American-born daughter (Christine Ko), are completely estranged and the pain of this is palpable in all their scenes. The film goes back and forth between Pin-Jui’s childhood memories in Taiwan and his present-day life in New York.
For director and screenwriter Alan Yang, his debut feature film was deeply personal. He too, is the child of immigrants, with his own father having faced seemingly unsurmountable difficulties when he came to the Bronx from his native Taiwan. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he said: “ “My dad grew up impoverished and was living in one room in the rice fields, and had a single mom who had three boys and worked in a sugar factory. And his son is now talking to Vanity Fair about a movie he directed. That’s one generation!”
Yang has worked as a writer/producer/actor on hit TV-series Parks and Recreation and Master of None. Tigertail is his first film as a director.