A teenager finds his deceased grandfather’s possessions in a storeroom and as a result meets a man dedicated to restoring old films. The two embark on a quest in search of an old movie. A story of film restoration, Taiwanese Hokkien cinema and family.
Taiwanese Hokkien cinema flourished in the 1960s. But the arrival of television broadcasts, government policies promoting Mandarin and intrusive censorship practices changed that. And now the glories of that golden age are, like reels of film in a basement, forgotten.
Happy’s job is to track down those lost movies and restore them using cutting-edge tech. One day he comes across a video online showing a teenager, Chung, opening a crate of his grandfather’s belongings. And in the crate – a copy of the long-lost classic, The Back Streets.
Happy rushes to the boy’s house to save the film reels: if they aren’t stored in a temperature-controlled environment they will soon deteriorate in Taiwan’s heat and humidity. But on arriving, he is disappointed to find the film has deteriorated past the point of recovery. But Chung, also disappointed, joins Happy’s quest and searches for a copy of his grandfather’s film.
Golden Comic Award winner Jian Jia-Cheng again produces a graphic novel of historical accuracy and heart. The story takes place both in the current day, as Happy and Chung search for the lost movie, and in the past as Chung’s grandfather makes it. It shows the painstaking efforts required to restore an old film, and how urgent the task is, as well as reminding us of the challenges filmmakers of the past faced and the passion with which they met those challenges.