Where we came from
Wi Ding HO has been trying to make his first full-feature movie since 2005. That was the year film entitled, “Respire“, won Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival. At that time, he already had a story in mind.
A Malaysian national living in Taipei, TAIWAN, Wi Ding chose to tell a story about Filipino migrant workers because he was “… touched by the optimism and hope I saw in them. I was walking along Zhongshan North Road one weekend, and I became curious when I saw all the Filipinos near St Christopher’s Church. They looked so happy.”
This project was not an easy pitch to sell. A Malaysian filmmaker is making Filipino stories in Taiwan!
With a great patience (and flexibility), Wi Ding saw interest slowly build. Talent and support were genuinely attracted to the project. What people needed to see was his potential as a filmmaker. Then, he wrote and directed another successful short film, “Summer Afternoon“, which was also accepted in the Cannes Film Festival.
With 3 trips to Cannes on his record (2 for short films and one for L’atelier), Taipei Culture Foundation from Taipei City and Department of Cultural Affairs from Taipei County finally provided grants for the project. And then in May 2009, NHK of Japan agreed to invest in the project.
PINOY SUNDAY is finally finished and ready for film festivals in 2010.
This is what the movie is about:
PINOY SUNDAY tells the story of Manuel and Dado, two Filipino migrant workers who discover a discarded sofa. This transforms their normal Sunday into a tale of adventure, perseverance and self-discovery.
On their only day off, Filipino migrant workers, MANUEL and DADO discover a couch left behind on a Taipei sidewalk. In a life where everything is arranged and all possessions belong to the factory, the couch represents a chance to own something of their own. Aware that carrying a heavy piece of furniture across town is both ridiculous and illogical, the journey becomes an important metaphor for their attempt to make an unpleasant factory dorm that much more like a home. The arduous walk across the landscape is also an internal struggle —a journey that challenges notions of manhood, friendships and family.
On a very basic level, Pinoy Sunday is a typical road film. On their absurdist journey, MANUEL and DADO encounter different archetypal characters. Often humorous and poignant, rife with miscommunication, both parties attempt to overcome linguistic barriers—in Tagalog, Taiwanese, Mandarin, even broken English the language mosaic of factory life in Taipei is demonstrated. From the self-righteous scooter rider, to the melodramatic suicidal student and mother, to the old man and his homemade recycling truck, MANUEL and DADO come across the many faces of a typical globalizing, industrial city.
In each tableau, we see the optimism and innocence with which they go through life. Unlike their local counterparts, MANUEL and DADO’S goals are far simpler, yet it’s the sheer simplicity of their needs, which makes them foreign. Lost, exhausted, and defeated, their journey comes to a climax at sundown when panic strikes. Faced with deportation if they miss curfew but not ready to abandon the couch, the two friends sit down to an impromptu meal by the riverside. As the sky darkens, their conversation brightens with homebound reminiscing. Seated on the couch, star-gazing turns into song, and Pinoy Sunday gives way to its only lyrical moment—a dream-like musical sequence as the two friends float down the river on their figurative lifeboat.