According to Netflix, the streaming giant that will premiere the Taiwanese dark comedy film ‘Classmates Minus’ globally this month, the film “captures middle age woes with a twist of humor”. On January 21, 2021, Netflix had announced that it is set to stream the Chinese-language black comedy. The film won an Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature and the recipients were Cream Film Production and Mandarin Vision.
Na-Dou Lin won a Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor and Shih-hao Chao won the same award for Best Art Direction. Huang Hsin-Yao’s film ‘The Great Buddha+’ had won five major awards at the Golden Horse Awards, including the Award for Best Director, and now ‘Classmates Minus’ will mark the director’s second feature film. Here is all you need to know about the film that first aired on November 5, 2020, at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.
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‘Classmates Minus’ releases on Saturday, February 20, 2021.
According to Netflix’s press release, “Director Huang Hsin-Yao continued his directing style in The Great Buddha+ and narrated his own film once again. Along with Huang’s fly-on-the-wall narration, the four protagonists express their views on the meaning of life through candid conversations.” The director said, “when directing Classmates Minus, I thought about the people and phenomena that I’ve observed in Taiwan over the years. The characters are ordinary people. There is nothing out of the ordinary about their conversations. I make films not to put words into people’s mouths, but to portray the troubles faced by middle-aged people.”
Executive producers Yeh Ju-feng and Mong-Hong Chung also said, “This film is the epitome of what people in all corners of the world may experience in their day-to-day lives. We aim to explore social and economic problems and even the issue of midlife crises through the perspective of Taiwan.”
The synopsis of the film reads, “‘Classmates Minus’ depicts the lives of ordinary people in society and, with a comedic stroke, paints a picture of the grim reality that they face. The plot unfolds with four high school friends catching up with each other at a bubble tea shop. The men are now in their forties, but they still grapple with challenges in life. One devotes his life to work with next to no appreciation, and one discovers that his goddess-like high school crush has since become a prostitute. One who had always dreamed of becoming a film director somehow ended up running for legislator. The four protagonists have all gone to great lengths to pursue a better life, yet they have received little return. This sentiment echoes the many ups and downs that ordinary folk in Taiwan experience every day.”
Cheng is known for his works as Shuo in ‘Thanatos, Drunk’ (2015), Qing in ‘Gatao 2: Rise of the King’ (2018), Chou Te-Hsin in ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’ (2018) and Fei-Long in ‘Magician on the roof’ (2018). His other recent works include ‘Han Dan’ (2019), ‘The Mirror’ (2019), ‘A Murderous Affair in Horizon Tower’ (2020) and ‘Abyssal Spider’ (2020). In 2018, the actor won an Asian Television Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’ (2018) and in 2019 he won a Main Competition Award at the Chongqing Youth Film Festival for Best Actors for ‘Magician on the roof’ (2018).
Liu is known for his role as Radish in ‘A Sun’ (2019), Chen Hua-Ming in ‘A Boy Named Flora A’ (2017) and Chen Zhi-Ming in ‘Jiang Teacher, You Talked About Love It’ (2016). His recent works include ‘Dear Loneliness’ (2019), ‘Acting Out of Love’ (2020), ‘A Choo’ (2020) and ‘My Missing Valentine’ (2020). In 2018, the actor won a Golden Bell Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Television Series for ‘A Boy Named Flora A’ and in 2019, he won a Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor for ‘Yangguang puzhao’ aka ‘A Sun’.
The rest of the cast includes Na-Dou Lin, Ming-Shuai Shih, Yi-wen Chen, Evelyn Yu-Tong Cheng, Jennifer Ling Hung, Ada Pan, Lotus Wang and Zhi-Ying Zhu
The film is directed by Golden Horse Awards Best New Director Hsin-yao Huang, who is known for ‘The Great Buddha+’. It is jointly produced by Mong-Hong Chung who is known for ‘A Sun’ and Yeh Ju-feng.
“Four school buddies — a director, a temp worker, an insurance salesman and a paper craftsman — grapple with unfulfilled dreams amid middle age ennui.”
Where to watch
Catch ‘Classmates Minus’ on Saturday, February 20, 2021, on Netflix.
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