A Taiwanese documentary on the strained relations between a daughter and her closeted mother has captured a coveted Festival Audience Award at the Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival on May 5.
“Small Talk (日常對話)” is the first full-length feature by up-and-coming filmmaker Huang Hui-chen (黃惠偵). The autobiographical documentary was compiled in segments over two decades, following Huang’s conflicting emotions as she lived under the same roof with a mother who kept almost everything to herself.
“Small Talk” introduces the filmmaker’s background as a daughter born to a forced marriage, her mother’s subsequent escape from her abusive husband, and the mother-daughter duo’s livelihood as folk performers – her as a “leader of parade,” and her mother as a priestess.
In addition, the film shows Huang’s courage in revealing her own secrets – a woman who didn’t finish elementary school, a single mother with a daughter, and a daughter ashamed of her mother, who brought female lovers home.
In an interview with the Berlin International Film Festival, Huang revealed that the film had a healing effect on her mother to not be ashamed of being a lesbian and a survivor of domestic abuse. Huang also mentioned that although she wanted to give up making the documentary every single week while filming, the desire to understand her mother for the sake of her own daughter motivated Huang to overcome the challenges.
THE LAAPFF Festival Audience Awards are chosen by audience ballot – one for narrative feature, one for documentary.