In 2017, OAFF screened Yin-yu Huang’s documentary After Spring, the Tamaki Family… . Now, nearly six years later, Huang has created a short sequel that highlights an emotional event that impacted this family of Taiwanese descent.
In the spring of 2022, grandmother Tamaki passes away. The whole family reunites again at her funeral.
After Winter, the Tamaki Family … offers a serene experience that explores the importance of the burial rite as well as the very moment a loved-one dies in a non-chronological way.
By offering a fragmentary glance at the burial rite, Huang’s narrative also offers the spectator a look at the similarities and differences between the Japanese Buddhist burial service and the Christian one. Of course, the different colours the burial service attains due to such religious differences do not change the core aim of such event: to help the subject with his/her loss by inscribing it in the societal and religious fabric and give this lack its righteous place within the symbolic.
Huang’s narrative also highlights how certain natural events are utilized by a subject to aid him/her to transform the sadness that marks the lingering emptiness into a thankfulness for the existence of the deceased. For the Tamaki family, the funeral rite is not so much a place to express one’s sadness, but a moment to gather around and honour her existence – an existence that, without any doubt, has marked each subject of the family profoundly.
Yin-yu Huang’s composition beautifully shows how the act of cutting and editing imagery is an act that narrativizes and fictionalizes. While there is no doubt that his work documents the real event that befell Tamaki family, Huang’s swift cutting creates a fictional frame where fragmentary atmospheric impressions are concatenated together.
The act of fictionalizing is also evident in Huang’s choice to decorate certain moments with emotional music. By adding such music, he does not merely excavate the mood of the moment but elegantly manipulates the emotional flow of his narrative and guides the impact of the imagery on the spectator.
While music certainly helps setting the mood, the element that truly allows the spectator to feel the importance of grandma Tamaki for her children is the fluid integration of interview-fragments. These moments do not only introduce the vocalization of heartfelt signifiers but also catches the stumbles within speech that betray the genuine emotion that fuels their enunciations.
After Winter, the Tamaki Family … offers a genuine and heartfelt tribute the grandmother of the Tamaki family. By elegantly choosing and concatenating his fragments together, Huang ensures that the spectator feels the emotional weight of her passing as well as the gratitude her children feel for her.