Small Talk by Hui-Chen Huang showing at Open City Documentary Festival

As part of this year’s Open City Documentary Festival, Small Talk will be screened at the Genesis Cinema on Saturday the 9th of September at 20:30. 95 and 6 to Go will be screened at the Picturehouse Central on Thursday, September 7th at 18:30.

Both films draw on themes of family relations, communication and identity in an Asian environment whilst subverting stereotypes and celebrating culture. 

Small Talk: It’s considered taboo in Taiwanese culture to question a mother’s unconditional love, let alone the love of an openly butch lesbian mother. That is what Taiwanese director Hui-Chen Huang does in her portrait of a complex mother-daughter relationship in Small Talk (2016). Through personal encounters, she sheds light on the family’s intense past, embarking on a journey of reconciliation.

Anu is not a woman of many words, at least not around her family. Growing up as a tomboy she unhappily entered an arranged marriage at a young age, as was customary in 1970s Taiwan. After giving birth to two daughters she fled her violent, good-for-nothing husband and brought up the children on her own – working as a professional funeral mourner, and living a lesbian half-life of smoking, drinking and gambling with her friends and lovers. Her daughter (filmmaker Hui-chen Huang, now with a young daughter of her own) started making this raw, intimate documentary 20 years ago to work through their stilted relationship, and understand what kind of a mother she wants to be for the next generation.

It is considered taboo in Taiwanese culture to question a mother’s unconditional love, let alone the love of an openly butch lesbian mother, yet that is exactly what Huang sets out to do in her multifaceted portrait of a complex mother-daughter relationship. Through a series of intense and sometimes frustrating personal encounters, she tries to shed light on the family’s silenced past in order to confront painful shared experiences and to embark on a journey of reconciliation.

In partnership with Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest

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