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Directed by Arvin Chen

Cast: Kai Ko, Vivian Hsu, Yu Tzu Yu

Opening Film, 2022 Taipei Film Festival

Special Jury Mention, 2022 London East Asia Film Festival

The cute but awkward Xiao-hong can’t be forced into love. Not by his overbearing mom, who tries to set him up on blind dates. Not by his cousin, who thinks the ladies of the sex motel are the answer. But when Xiao-hong develops the most innocent crush on a brothel madame his mom’s age, suddenly his friends and family have second thoughts on him finding love.

Few Taiwanese directors outside of Chung Mong-hong and Tsai Ming-liang make films as instantly recognizable as Arvin Chen. His films are peppered with sweet, awkward lovers, whether in the nocturnal rom-com Au Revoir Taipei (SDAFF ’10) or the closeted dad drama Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (SDAFF ’13). They inhabit colorful worlds illuminated like fish aquariums, its characters unabashed movie creations. With MAMA BOY, actor Kai Ko (You Are the Apple of My Eye) is the latest victim of Chen’s penchant for turning idols into dweebs, while former youth icon Vivian Hsu is an inspired choice to play a middle-aged industry vet who’s seen it all. Chen melts Punch Drunk Love into an Anita Mui ballad, with loan sharks, jealous mothers, and conmen crashing in the streets while would-be lovers slow dance into the night.

—Brian Hu

Dates & Times



Sun, Nov 6
3:00 pm