Archive of films Tears / Yan lei

2009, 111 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2010

An aging detective latches onto a pointless case of death by overdose, thereby opening a route to redeem himself for the wrongs he committed in the past. Focusing on loneliness and the burden of rash judgments, the movie also points out the paradoxes of life in Taiwan where democracy meets police brutality head on.


With the democracy and luxury of contemporary Taiwan as a backdrop, a handful of lonely characters live out their normal, even distressful lives. The story focuses on an aging, old-school detective who is no stranger to violently forced confessions. He also knows all the biggest gangsters in town and they respect him. When off duty, he avoids his younger colleagues, accepting loneliness as his lot in life. The only bright spot in his day happens when he buys betel nuts from the scantily-clad young women who work at stands along the highway. Soon before retirement, the detective latches onto the case of an overdose victim, thereby opening a route to redeem himself for the wrongs he committed in the past. While the film reveals the paradoxes in the everyday lives of the redoubtable policeman and the betel nut sellers (whom customers treat like either celebrities or fallen women), it also employs the motif of police violence to highlight the burden of rash judgments which people regret after they can do nothing to change them.

About the director

Cheng Wen-tang (b. 1958, Taiwan) began working as a screenwriter and assistant director after graduating from university. He shot a series of ethnographic documentaries about the neglected original inhabitants of Taiwan. After presenting his short film Postcard (1999) and the made-for-TV movie Vanity Fair of Tan-sui (2000) at the domestic film festival in Taipei, he broke onto the international scene with the feature debut Somewhere over the Dreamland (Mon huan bu luo, 2002), which took the International Critics’ Week Award at the Venice IFF and screened at KVIFF 2003. As a result of the waning fashion for Taiwanese films, his subsequent melodramas The Passage (Jing guo, 2004), Blue Cha Cha (Shen hai, 2005), and Summer’s Tail (Sia tian de wei ba, 2007), crowned at domestic festivals, were screened mainly in Asia.


Joint Entertainment International Inc.
421-6F Guang Fu South Road, 11074, Taipei
Tel: +886 227 206 007
Fax: +886 227 588 516

About the film

Color, 35 mm
European premiere

Section: Another View
Director: Cheng Wen-tang
Screenplay: Cheng Wen-tang, Cheng Jin-fen, Chang I-feng
Dir. of Photography: Feng Hsin-hua
Music: An Cheng-ye
Editor: Chang I-feng
Producer: Cheng Wen-tang
Production: Dreamosa Film Ltd.
Cast: Tsai Chen-nan, Huang Jian-wei, Serena Fang, Enno Cheng
Contact: Joint Entertainment International Inc.


Cheng Wen-tang

Film Director

Enno Cheng



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