Packages from Daddy: A New Film Highlighting Kaohsiung's Maritime Culture／在高雄海岸，學習以愛道別─《心靈時鐘》
Packages from Daddy: A New Film Highlighting Kaohsiung's Maritime Culture
◎English tranlstion: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos courtesy of Cai Yin-jyuan, Lee Jhih-ciang
Packages from Daddy is a film that was made on Shoushan and along Kaohsiung's Sizihwan coastline. The story focuses on a 9-year-old boy named Yeh Lan, his older sister and their mother. During the film, the father passes away and the family struggles with the loss. However, when they receive gifts that the father had arranged for them, they begin to recover from their grief. Director Ms. Cai Yin-jyuan explains the inspiration for the film had come out of her own nephew's grief at the losing his father. She felt through the medium of film that she could reveal the tremendous impact that comes from losing a family member. She hopes the movie can heighten the awareness of how others can support families and friends that have recently lost loved ones.
The film's original Chinese script won a subsidy at the 2016 Kaohsiung Film Festival. The sophisticated plot weaves together Kaohsiung's oceanic scenery and the various occupations that exhibit Kaohsiung's unique marine culture. Lan's father had been an agent who sold second hand parts from demolished shipping vessels. This reflects Taiwan's once world renowned, 1971 to 1988, flourishing second-hand shipping parts industry. Scrapped parts would be transformed into furniture, clocks and other products. The gifts that the late father has arranged to be sent to his family have been made from parts that had come from his shop.
Lan's mother also works in a job that features a profession that revolves around a maritime way of life. Working as a waitress in a yacht club, the audience gets an appreciation for Kaohsiung's marine culture and how it influences its people. The ocean and maritime lifestyles are central to the film. The family live near Sizihwan Bay and through their window, a beautiful seaside is revealed.
After the father's death, Lan reminisces about times when his father was still alive. Flashbacks include how he and his father would wander along the city's coastlines and how the family would enjoy splashing around in the surf together. These touching scenes elucidate the pain of losing a family member and the memories that linger. The grief however is offset with cinematography of the beautiful turquoise ocean and Kaohsiung's delightful seaside.
Shooting a film on the slopes of Shoushan and on the ocean had many challenges. Since the set was overlooking Sizihwan Bay, all the equipment needed to be lugged all the way up the side of the mountain to the family's home. Camera drones were also used to capture the stunning coastal scenery. Sometime they had to film on the ocean itself. Director Ms. Cai recalls the seasickness she had suffered while shooting on the ocean, when a typhoon was coming in, bring with it fierce winds and storm surge. It increased her appreciation for days of filming beautiful scenery and good weather more.
She also truly appreciates all the support she has received from Kaohsiung City Government. She felt the people of Kaohsiung were particularly friendly and warm. Many of the local residents enthusiastically participated in the filming. Kaohsiung native, Executive Producer Lee Jhih-ciang, was intrinsic in shooting the beautiful coastal scenery and requisitioning little not known locations that truly revealed Kaohsiung's charming maritime character.