“A SUN(陽光普照),” directed and co-written by Taiwanese auteur Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏), has been named as one of "the best films of 2020" by American film critic Peter Debruge for Variety. Couple days later, another film critic David Ehrlich published a review in IndieWire, saying that “A SUN” demands serious Oscar consideration. The film is selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best International Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards. The Oscars ceremony will be held April 25, 2021.
In fact, before the Variety selection, “A SUN” had already earned international acclaim outside the United States. It premiered at the Toronto international Film Festival on September 6, 2019. TIFF’s programmer Giovanna Fulvi says the film is “melancholic and lyrical, yet interspersed with sudden outbursts of genre immersions.” Afterwards, the film was selected by various international film festivals, such as Busan International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival, and Palm Spring International Film Festival.
Domestically, the film received 11 nominations at the 56th Golden Horse Awards, winning Best Narrative Feature, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing and Audience Choice.
“A SUN” was acquired by Netflix in January this year. That means the film is accessible to more than 67million subscribers in the United States. However, just like Ehrlich put it, “Movies have never been more accessible, and they’ve never been harder to find.” “In a world flooded with content,” the film had sunk “into the murk like shipwrecks.” Thankfully, the film is getting a lot more attention now.
Debruge praises the film as an “epic redemption saga,” which “focuses on the dynamic between a black-sheep son and the father whose disappointment and shame risks eclipsing the young man’s redemption.” The film “transcends subtitles to address universal truths about the way approval and encouragement works in parent-child relationships.” Ehrlich describes the film as “a riveting moral odyssey that mixes elements of broad comedy, ultra-violence, melodrama, and even a splash of animation into the slow-boiling stew of everyday human existence.”