Vincent Van Gogh’s classic painting “Starry Night” has, through the years, inspired poets, musicians, and now another gem — this episode’s holiday film from Taiwan. Mark describes it as the “best film we have reviewed” so far. It is a heartfelt story based on an illustrated novel, and the film shares the artful imagination of both the painter and the author with its stunning visuals. The genuine emotional content of the story sparks a discussion between the boys on what elements make for a good Christmas movie. Although Taiwan is a majority Buddhist and Taoist country, “Starry, Starry Night” creates true Christmas “feels” while dealing with painful issues like bullying, divorce, and death. However, despite its heavy themes, the movie and its young actors shine as brightly as the night sky that inspires them. The film also includes some fantasy elements that provide for a welcome escape from their unhappy reality. In addition, we learn about Taiwan’s dazzling Banqiao District with its high-powered projections, digital Christmas trees, and giant Lego Santa. Plus, we discuss the Dongzhi Festival, celebrated on the winter solstice (December 22), with its sticky rice animals and nine-layer cakes that are offered as a ceremonial sacrifice to honor deceased ancestors. Join us on a sentimental journey to a land that, like this movie, is colorful, charming, and a bit magical.
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Author: Bob & Mark
Title: Episode 16: Starry, Starry Night (Taiwan)