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There Is Still Tomorrow

Reflections on ‘A Sun’  陽光普照 (2019)

by Ashleigh Chow | 18 June 2020

Screenshot from The Undoing 

Literally meaning ‘so, so bright that the sunlight naturally reaches every corner’, the eponymous phrase ‘陽光普照’ was one of my favourite Chinese expressions growing up. Bearing a poetic tinge, it might even represent a hidden hope of a perfect world where no darkness or evil can reach. If this is anything to go by, hiding ironically beneath the shadows on Netflix lies this wrenching Taiwanese melodrama: an atmospheric family tale posing as a commentary on the boundaries of life and death, the cyclical nature of crime and the complexities of fractured family relationships.

 

Opening with a riveting crime scene (featuring an amputated hand in a hotpot), the film quickly decelerates, transitioning into an exploration of morality and redemption. Following the Chen family, we are introduced to their two sons: the firstborn golden child, soon-to-be medical student A-Hao (Xu Guang-han), and the younger black sheep, A-Ho (Wu Chien-ho), a teenager who ends up in juvenile detention. Paralleling in their inner conflicts, Mr and Mrs Chen (Chen Yi-wen and Samantha Ko) take us through the turmoil of parenthood – dealing with issues like a pregnant girl at their doorstep, an unexpected tragedy, and new economic burdens.