Winds of September director Tom Lin adapts Taiwanese author Jimmy Liao’s illustrated children’s book by the same name in this beautifully shot film. In the same way that Hugo and Where the Wild Things Are appealed to both adults and children, Starry Starry Night takes a similar approach to creating an artistic and imaginative world.
Twelve-year-old Xiao Mei (Chinese newcomer Jiao Xu) escapes her parents’ constant arguing by disappearing into an imaginary world of larger-than-life creatures and colourful animals. She spends most of her time in her room, playing with wooden animal toys constructed by her beloved grandfather and trying to put together a puzzle based on Van Goh’s Starry Night painting.
When a new transfer student, Xiao Jie (Hui-Min Lin), enters Xiao Mei’s seventh-grade class, the two become fast friends after she saves the quiet, misunderstood boy from a group of bullies. Later, when Xiao Mei’s grandfather dies and her parents announce their divorce, Xiao Jie becomes the only person the young girl can turn to.
The opulent visuals and special effects in Starry Starry Night are reason enough to take in this film. Cinematographer Jake Pollock, who previously worked on Taiwanese gang flick Monga, frames every scene as if it was a piece of visual art on its own.
Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival presents Starry Starry Night on Friday (June 29) at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday (June 30) at 1:30 p.m.
Watch the trailer for Starry Starry Night.