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Homesick Eyes

Director: Hsu Hsiao-ming
Script: Hsu Fu-chun, Hsu Hsiao-ming
Photography: Han Yun-chung
Sound: Tu Du-che, Lin Hsiu-rong
Producer: Peggy Chiao
Production Company, Source: Taiwan Film Center
4th Floor, No.19, Lane 2, Wan Li Street, Taipei, TAIWAN
Phone: 886-2-239-6026 / Fax: 886-2-239-6501
TAIWAN / 1997 / Thai, English / Color /
35mm (1:1.66) / 85 min

Hsu Hsiao-ming

Born in Taiwan in 1995 and made his first film at the age of twenty. He then began to study production, direction, and scriptwriting at the World College of Journalism and Communications in Taipei. Later worked as an assistant director on numerous films, including Hou Hsiao-hsien's A Time to Live and a Time to Die and Lee Hsing's The Land of the Brave. After serving as assistant director on Patrick Tam's Burning Snow, left the industry for a while. His feature film debut, Dust of Angels (1991), was shown at the Director's Fortnight at Cannes, and his second feature, Heartbreak Island (1994), was presented at the same festival.


Producer's Statement

I was in Yamagata from the first Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. Until this day, I remember distinctively how in this festival, Mr. Ogawa Shinsuke held all the Asian filmmakers' hands and hoped for a better tomorrow for Asian documentaries.
I respected Mr. Ogawa immensely. His vision and dedication have always been an inspiration to me. Over the years, I hope I can do something to improve the somewhat barren land of Asian documentary--especially in Taiwan.

It took me eight years to persuade people to give me money to do non-fiction films. When the opportunity came, I collaborated with Hsu Hsiao-ming, Ann Hui and Stanley Kwan and finished three documentaries this year. All three films are concerned with the changing situation of our societies. All three bear strong personal touches that are very different from the over-loaded reportage that is the specialty of satellite and cable television.
In the case of Homesick Eyes, Hsu Hsiao-ming focuses on four Asian laborers in Taiwan. Philippine house servants and Thai construction workers are the new nomads of more industrialized countries. Hsu skips the usual newsreel style and opts to delineate the homesick hearts of four individuals. The result is both touching and realistic.
I dedicate this film to the late Mr. Ogawa.
--Peggy Chiao

Director's Statement

As the world's labor markets open up to allow a freer flow of people into the more affluent developed countries and even into developing countries (such as Taiwan), the growing number of foreign laborers and new immigrants has become a pervading phenomenon with both economic and social consequences. Foreign laborers tear themselves away from their native lands in search of higher incomes, and in doing so become vulnerable to exploitation by their foreign employers. On the other hand, in the service sector for example, laborers coming from diverse cultures bring with them new and different values, and this in itself often creates more problems than a host society can at first predict. So what then is the real cost of this phenomenon?

In the process of collecting background information for this documentary and whilst shooting the footage, we were constantly witnesses to problems and conflict, even tragedy, arising from gaps between cultures and a divergence of values. It was with sadness that we recorded the stories of those who meant to improve the standard of living of their families but instead risked destroying their family unit; of those who meant only to give more love to those dear to them but who instead landed up in an endless struggle with homesickness. I wonder whether this so called 'evolution' really demonstrates the wisdom of our human race after all ...


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee