Pinoy Sunday (台北星期天) directed by Ho Wi-ding (何蔚庭) tells the story of Manuel (Epy Quizon) and Dado (Bayani Agbayani), two Filipinos who work in a bicycle factory on the outskirts of Taipei.
The film begins by giving some background to their lives in the city. We see their basic accommodation in the factory where they yearn for a bit more comfort. Every night they are faced with being locked out if they don’t return to the factory before curfew. We also learn about their personal relationships. Manuel pursues the glamourous Celia (Alessandra de Rossi), while Dado is torn between his girlfriend Anna (Meryll Soriano) and his wife and family back in the Philippines.
Sunday is their day off when they seek some escape from the drudgery of life in the factory. They visit Little Manila in Zhongshan North Road and attend a service in the Catholic Church. Later they discover a red leather couch abandoned by the side of the road.
In their efforts to carry to the couch back to their factory they test their friendship and also have various encounters with an ensemble of characters. Although the Filipinos do essential work they are isolated from Taiwanese society by linguistic barriers and discriminatory attitudes. This isolation and marginalisation is apparent in the film but it also provides a window from which to observe Taiwanese society.
The Taiwanese people in the film are often depicted as unhappy. The couch that Manuel and Dado carry was abandoned after an argument between a Taiwanese couple. Anna cares for an elderly women who shows little emotion and whose family are too busy to pay attention to her. This is in contrast to the two Filipino friends who are able to find happiness and satisfaction in a couch and their friendship.
The film invites comparisons with Detours to Paradise (歧路天堂), another recent Taiwanese film about the lives of foreign workers. While both films are reminders of the difficulties faced by foreign workers in Taiwan, Pinoy Sunday has a brighter and more hopeful tone.
Pinoy Sunday beautifully captures the spirit of friendship and hope shared by Manuel and Dado. Despite the hardships they face there is an underlying sense of optimism that prevails.