Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival: Leaving Gracefully shines a light on Spinocerebellar ataxia
When a bunch of people usually involved in TV decide to make a movie, the results aren’t always successful, but in veteran TV show host Chia-chia Pon’s directorial debut, Leaving Gracefully, it works. Who would Pon feel most comfortable working with than two other TV personalities starring as Hsiu-mei (Rene Hou) and Zhi Hui (Pin-yuan Huang), a hard-working married couple put through the ringer after an unexpected medical diagnosis?
When Hsiu-mei suddenly collapses while at work in a textiles factory, her husband—a tender-hearted concrete paver—takes her to the hospital, only to discover that Hsiu-mei has Spinocerebellar ataxia, a degenerative brain disorder that leaves patients with a loss of physical control. With no cure in sight (apparently the disease is too rare for pharmaceutical companies to invest research into), Hsiu-mei, Zhi Hiu, and their teenage daughter go through stages of denial, anger, and finally acceptance.
With not much time left between them, Zhi Hui decides to take his wheelchair-bound wife on a tour of some of Taiwan’s most scenic locations, proving that sometimes, love and care are indeed the best medicine.
Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival presents Leaving Gracefully on Saturday (June 30) at 3:45 p.m. and Sunday (July 1) at 9 p.m.
Watch the trailer for Leaving Gracefully.