It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen. The East Asia Film Festival is returning to the IFI and with it comes a whole host of new films. One of these films is the Taiwanese drama Dear Tenant.
Dear Tenant follows Lin (Morning Mo). He lives with his landlady and her grandson. He takes care of them on a daily basis. Then one day the grandmother passes away. Her son shows up and learns that not only has Lin adopted the grandson, young Yo-Yu (Run-yin Bai) but the deed of the family house is under Yo-Yu’s name meaning that Lin technically owns it. Sensing something is off the son takes matters into his own hands and tries to discover what kind of person Lin is. From here we learn about what kind of person Lin is and the story of his life is heartbreaking.
Dear Tenant is a beautifully tragic film that tells the story of a gay man living in Taiwan trying to live his life. Lin has so much self-imposed pressure on himself. He’s a tortured figure never fully letting his guard down due to the events preceding the events of the film. Morning Mo who plays him is a wonderful actor, giving a performance that is vulnerable and charming. He is not alone as young Yo-Yu played by Run-yin Bai is surprisingly nuanced for such a young actor. He has to deal with the many truths coming out during the course of the film and he handles it in a realistic fashion and he gives a highly empathic performance.
Dear Tenant is also a stunning film. The cinematography at times is gorgeous. There are several scenes showcasing the scenic beauty of Taiwan with the characters looking on in wonder. There is also a particular scene utilising these locales with Lin and Yo-Yu that broke my heart.
What makes this film so beautiful and so tragic is how the state of the world, in particular, Taiwan and China affects these people. The film deals with the views of the LGBTQ community from the more traditional rules of society and even though Taiwan is the most progressive part of Asia with LGBTQ rights there are still serious hurdles.
Ultimately Dear Tenant is a wonderful film. Easily one of the best I’ve seen this year with unforgettable characters. Not only that Dear Tenant did something that the best art always achieves, it taught me a lesson.
Stay tuned to Scannain for more news, reviews and interviews and check out the IFI website for more information on all upcoming events.