20 May 2019 | MOscarbradley
A gem that cries out to be seen.
Sylvia Chang's glorious film "Love Education" deals with the kind of subjects cinema often ignores or simply uses for purely dramatic effect, namely life, death, the passing of time, the past, the present and the conflict between generations though I admit not too many of us work in the media and have a family crisis blown up on television as a major news story. Indeed, the initial premise of the film may seem far-fetched but Chang, who also co-wrote the picture as well as playing one of the leading roles, treats the central subject, not to mention a couple of subplots involving her daughter's singer boyfriend and an unruly schoolboy, in such a low-key, off-hand manner that the film feels both realistic and utterly charming.
Chang plays, (and not all that sympathetically, either), a school-teacher who wants to move her father's grave from the country to the city so that her recently deceased mother can be buried with him. The problem is he had been married before and his first wife insists on guarding his grave like a bulldog. To make matters worse Chang's daughter, who works on television, has filmed a graveside altercation between the two older women that has gone public.
Despite moving into the territory of reality television this remains a film about ordinary people living ordinary lives and it's a wonderful picture of life in contemporary China where the past and the present seem to collide on an almost daily basis and where bureaucracy defeats even the best of intentions. The performances by everyone are outstanding and the film is funny and deeply moving in equal measure. In fact, this is a gem that cries out for a much wider distribution than it is currently getting.