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Another Sunday in Taipei

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.


File next to:
2007 at the movies
Movie review: Island Etude
The Wall-Passer: unique sci-fi romance
10th Taipei Film Festival
Au Revoir Taipei: Fun and romance on the streets of Taipei


Comment from Ashish
Time 3 June 2010 at 1:20 am

Sounds interesting. I should get around watching it when dvds are available. Thanks for the review David.

Comment from durbanbay
Time 3 June 2010 at 9:41 am

Hi David,

Thanks to the link to the trailer. It looks like a movie that has its moments but all in Chinese or Taglog I guess. Does it have English subtitles? Certainly something I would like to watch.

Anyway, nice review. Thanks.

Comment from David Reid
Time 4 June 2010 at 1:02 am

durbanbay, the majority of the dialogue is in Tagalog. The version I saw only had Chinese subtitles, but the screenings in Taipei should have both English and Chinese subtitles. It is best to check with the cinema.

Pingback from East Asia Blog Roundup : 6/6/2010 « Eye on East Asia
Time 5 June 2010 at 11:56 pm

[...] David on Formosa – David reviews the Taiwanese film Pinoy Sunday, a drama which follows the lives of two Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan. [...]

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