The Boar King (2014) is the second Taiwanese film I saw today as part of ICAF organised Taiwanese Film Festival.
A typhoon devastates most of a mountain village, where Cho and her husband Ying have been running a small resort inn. The Inn was popular with tourists due to the pool it had, which has running water coming from the hot springs high above the mountain – a place where the folklore says a giant boar (the boar king) lives. Ying has died in the typhoon, their Inn is in disarray, no water in the pool – Cho is unsure of what lies ahead of her. Add to this, Cho is pressurised by other villagers to sell her property to a giant corporation that’s planning to build a big resort in the mountain. Cho’s only solace is her step-daughter Fen who keeps visiting Cho whenever she gets a long leave from her job at a supermarket in the nearby town.
The film is all about how both Cho & Fen cope with their losses and rebuild their lives – not an uncommon storyline, but what made it interesting is the way it was presented by Director Chen-Ti Kuo. For the first half of the film, the present is shown in Black and White; while the past is shown in colour. Initially, I got confused on this reversal of colours; but once the present switches to colour I got it figured out.
We get to see the past through the Video tapes of their everyday lives recorded by Yang. It is from the tapes, Cho learns a secret about Ying and how he was able to send invitation cards and return gifts for his own funeral ceremony. I liked the initial encounter between Fen and a visitor to their village Garmin, the love that emerges between the two has been shown well.