“Heather Tsui’s impressive debut tells an uplifting, family-friendly tale from the indigenous Tao community of Taiwan. Ethnography and entertainment are neatly mixed in “Long Time No Sea,” an uplifting drama set among the indigenous Tao community from Orchid Island in Taiwan. Based on life experiences of first-time feature writer-director Heather Tsui (also known as Tsui Yung-hui), this tale of a newbie teacher from the city who prepares students for a dance competition is sweet without ever getting sticky, and sends strong but never-didactic messages about the need to preserve traditional cultures and languages.”
Filmed on a South Pacific island, this film depicts a boy’s courage to grow and his quest for self discovery. Raised by his grandma alone, MaNaWei lives a frugal and simple life in Lanyu, an island located near Taiwan. His greatest hope is to meet his absent father working in Taiwan, and have a reunion with him again. Yu Zhang-xun, a rookie teacher from Taipei, was just assigned to MaNaWei’s school in Lanyu. He felt isolated and bored, and desperately wanted to go back to Taiwan. To their surprise, they found the National Aboriginal Dance Competition is a great chance to go to Taiwan. As Yu undertook the responsibility to attend the competition, he discovered the talent of MaNaWei, and decided to do all choreography putting him as the centre of performance. However, he found out a big obstacle for the preparation: the children wouldn’t want to wear their traditional thong to perform.
The unexpected difficulties make the preparation even harder, and MaNaWei is also nervous if he could finally meet his father again…