Patrick Wang’s epic two-parter ‘A Bread Factory’ has its Taiwan premiere at 2019 Urban Nomad Film Festival and is a compelling story for our times.
The News Lens
By: Cat Thomas
Back in 2011 a review of Patrick Wang’s first film “In the Family” in the New York Times closed with the tip: This is a career to keep an eye on. Fast forward to late 2018 and his latest offering – which has its Taiwan premiere(s) this weekend at The Urban Nomad Film Festival – was included in over forty Best of 2018 lists with critics from RogerEbert.com, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and Vogue among those championing the film and the New York Times coming full-circle by declaring “A Bread Factory” “a major work by a singular American artist.”
With the project split into two complementary films running at close to two hours apiece, prospective viewers might be concerned that Wang has overdone it, stretching out a story, however the two parts, while both following events in the fictional town of Checkford, are markedly different and the time taken to deeply explore the multiple themes is well spent and brilliantly performed by a cast which includes Tyne Daly (“Spiderman: Homecoming,” “Cagney & Lacy”) as arts educator Dorothea, and James Marsters (“Hawaii Five-O,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) as a celebrity actor, as well as Taiwan media darling Janet Hsieh (former host of Taiwan Fun) and her husband George Young as two upstart China-funded performance artists, May and Ray.
Through the lens of a small New York State town, Wang manages to dive deep into the issues, habits and behaviors that many of us engage in perhaps unwittingly, and raises many questions about the choices we make and the long-term effects on our society with a particular reference to, but not limited to, arts education and social media.