Netflix has announced that it will exclusively stream Chinese-language dark comedy “Classmates Minus” starting on February 20. Directed by Huang Hsin-Yao and produced jointly by Chung Mong-hong and Yeh Ju-feng, Classmates Minus stars Cheng Jen-shuo, Liu Kuan-ting, Nadow Lin, and Shih Ming-shuai; winning the Audience Choice Award, along with Best Supporting Actor and Best Art Direction at the 57th Golden Horse Awards.
Classmates Minus depicts the lives of ordinary people in society and, with a comedic stroke, paints a picture of the grim reality that they face. The plot unfolds with four high school friends catching up with each other at a bubble tea shop. The men are now in their forties, but they still grapple with challenges in life. One devotes his life to work with next to no appreciation, and one discovers that his goddess-like high school crush has since become a prostitute. One who had always dreamed of becoming a film director somehow ended up running for the legislator. The four protagonists have all gone to great lengths to pursue a better life, yet they have received little return. This sentiment echoes the many ups and downs that ordinary folk in Taiwan experience every day.
Director Huang Hsin-Yao continued his directing style in The Great Buddha+ and narrated his own film once again. Along with Huang’s fly-on-the-wall narration, the four protagonists express their views on the meaning of life through candid conversations. As Huang mentioned, “when directing Classmates Minus, I thought about the people and phenomena that I’ve observed in Taiwan over the years. The characters are ordinary people. There is nothing out of the ordinary about their conversations. I make films not to put words into people’s mouths, but to portray the troubles faced by middle-aged people.”
Executive Producers Yeh Ju-feng and Chung Mong-hong added, “This film is the epitome of what people in all corners of the world may experience in their day-to-day lives. We aim to explore social and economic problems and even the issue of midlife crises through the perspective of Taiwan."
Director Huang Hsin-Yao’s first feature film, The Great Buddha+ (2017), won five major awards at the Golden Horse Awards, including the Award for Best Director. Classmates Minus is Huang Hsin-Yao’s second feature film and is produced by seasoned local producer Yeh Ju-feng (My Missing Valentine and Our Times). Chung Mong-hong, who enjoyed a sweeping success at the Golden Horse Awards with A Sun, served as the executive producer and photography director of Classmates Minus.
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