CAAMFest 2024: Light of the Setting Sun

Going into this film, I didn’t know much about Light of the Setting Sun except from the CAAMFest program description:

Candid conversations meet photographic scenes, as the details of violence begin to take shape, and we witness how deep the secrets were held in the members of her family. When immigration to a far away place like the US should feel like an appropriate distance to leave everything behind, it’s not. It can’t ever be. Light of The Setting Sun is a poetic family portrait of what’s been left unsaid and how the shadows of the Chinese Communist Revolution of 1949 would leave indelible scars on her family. We find ourselves rooting for the truth, no matter how challenging the memories are to bear – and in that, we behold the power of the storyteller that asks the necessary in order to break generational trauma.”

This documentary was very much a cinematic memoir by Taiwanese American director Vicky Du, profiling her hidden family secrets of inter-generational trauma and the barriers geography, culture, language and memory over time. I think any immigrant child growing up in the United States, not necessarily just Taiwanese Americans, could relate to this film.

In the post-screening Q&A, Vicky Du expressed gratitude for the audience’s reception of the film and shares personal insights into its creation. Anita Chang and Du discuss the impetus behind the film, which stemmed from her family’s history and struggles with mental health.

Du reflects on her family’s reaction to the film and their ongoing dialogue about it. She also mentioned how the film draws inspiration from literature and discuss her background in studying primate behavioral ecology, which influenced her approach to filmmaking.

Du emphasized the importance of patience and understanding when discussing sensitive topics with family members, drawing on their own experiences. She also highlighted the therapeutic value of speaking openly about difficult subjects. Audience questions focused on the film’s themes of intergenerational trauma and the challenges of communication within families. She also shared her thoughts on processing grief and fostering understanding within her family, as well as her hopes for the film’s impact on audiences.

Her documentary will air on PBS in the Fall of 2025.

Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
How does this post make you feel?
  • Excited
  • Fascinated
  • Amused
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Angry

About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
This entry was posted in 8mm Film Review, Local, Movies, San Francisco Bay Area and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.