By Karen Han@karenyhan Apr 10, 2020, 7:00pm EDT
TheThe pleasure of watching Netflix’s Master of None comes from seeing immigrant stories getting the space to play out at a meaningful length, while being portrayed as everyday experiences rather than as anomalies.
The episodes that center on first-generation immigrant parents (“Parents” and “Religion”) are the best the series has to offer, tackling the disconnect that can occur between generations and Eastern and Westerns senses of responsibility, as balanced with unconditional familial love.
Tigertail, the feature directorial debut of series co-creator Alan Yang, feels familiar in that respect. It focuses on three generations of one family and the slow, sometimes painful process of learning to understand each other.
At the center of it all is Pin-Jui, played by longtime film and TV veteran Tzi Ma (The Farewell, Man in the High Castle), and Lee Hong-chi in flashbacks to his 20s, spent scraping by in Taiwan. As the film jumps back and forth in time, the two versions of Pin-Jui are difficult to reconcile.
As a young man, he’s gregarious and adventurous, but his older self is reticent, reluctant to open up even to his daughter Angela (Christine Ko).
The young Pin-Jui dreams of going to America, and Yang, who based the film on his own father’s life, slowly fills in the circumstances of Pin-Jui’s eventual departure from Taiwan, and the reason behind his change in personality.