The Fourth Portrait
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The Fourth Portrait
Directed by: Chung Mong-Hong
Runtime: 104 min
Language: Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Celebrating the Centennial of the Republic of China, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) has joined with Asian Pacific American Film, Inc. and the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian to present several films. Two contemporary Taiwanese films, Cape No. 7 and The Fourth Portrait, will be presented on October 13th as part of the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival. Two pivotal earlier Taiwanese films (Tsai Ming-liang’s Rebels of the Neon God and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s A Time to Live and a Time to Die) will be presented at the Freer and Sackler Galleries on October 21st and 23rd.
Ten year-old Xiang is alone after his father’s death, with only an elderly school janitor to help him survive by finding and selling used objects. Cantankerous as the old man is, he clearly cares for the young boy and tries to guide him through the dangers of life. But just as Xiang has settled into his new life, his estranged mother returns to take him away to live with her and his imposing stepfather.
Xiang befriends other misfits in his new home, and they add a comic touch to a life that is singed by tragedy. Haunting everyone is the mysterious disappearance of Xiang’s older brother many years earlier.
The Fourth Portrait is an atmospheric film with deliberate pacing and great cinematography, punctuated by light-hearted and side-splitting comedy. At times wistful and sad, the story of this spirited young boy is not easily forgotten.
— Tad Doyle
Chung Mong-Hong, Director
Chung Mong-Hong was born in Ping-Tong, Taiwan. Since 1997, Chung has directed more than one hundred TV commercials. His first documentary film, Doctor, has garnered acclaim at many international film festivals for its poetic cinematography and sensitive treatment of a father’s bereavement. His first narrative film, Parking, was released in 2008.