Taiwan | 2018 | 87 minutes | Coming-of-age documentary | Mandarin (English subtitles)
Director: Ho Chao-ti
Chen and Pei, two Taiwanese indigenous teenager girls, come from broken homes. Chen takes care of her nine siblings and drunk mother, finding occasional comfort in Taekwondo and dreams of leaving. Pei lives with her boyfriend to escape from an abusive home. The girls meet during a summer internship, but in the years leading to their 18th birthday, their lives take a major turn into two very different paths.
Continuing with her acclaimed series on marginalised communities and socio-economic issues, Ho Chao-ti (El Salvador Journal, 2008) follows the rocky paths of her fragile subjects for several years in this beautiful yet heartbreaking documentary. Turning 18 depicts a pure coming-of-age story while addressing poverty in rural Taiwan, LGBTQ rights and sexual abuse. Despite the girls’ harrowing experiences, a special mother-daughter relationship reveals the courage it takes to change in order to pursue happiness.
Text source and photocredit: Cinemasia Film Festival