July 14, 2024 at 1:30 PM

In her astonishing debut as writer-director, HWARNG Wern-ying (ACC 2015), a long-time Hou Hsiao-Hsien collaborator and Golden Horse-winning art director, presents her film Be With Me at the 23rd New York Asian Film Festival. Every frame is a masterclass in visual storytelling, a testament to Hwarng's unerring eye and her ability to weave a complex tapestry of intergenerational legacy and spiritual awakening.

Ariel Lin is Faye, an art director who returns to her hometown to care for her ailing father and finds herself on a journey of reminiscence and self-discovery. As memories of her late grandfather surface and intertwine with her present reality, Faye navigates a labyrinth of past, present, and the realm of make-believe. Hwarng's formal audacity is breathtaking. She seamlessly melds flashbacks with scenes from a film-within-the-film, juxtaposing black-and-white footage of Taiwan's "Japanization" era with sublime images of architecture and sweeping mountain vistas. It's a visual symphony that captures the very soul of Taiwan and its people, a meditation on the ties that bind us across time and space. This is filmmaking of the highest order, a stunning debut that announces Hwarng Wern-ying as a major new voice in world cinema.

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