A Real Meal

A Real Meal is a documentary about the elderly on the inevitable path of growing old. How do the lonely elderly spend each day? The film is also about the lives of the caregivers who accompany and support the elderly.

Old age is a certain path in life. On this sometimes steep, sometimes gentle path, some deal with it quite comfortably while some stumble on the bumps. Do you know what it’s like to be old?

86-year-old Grandpa Tseng used to be a mountain courier when he was young. Now suffering from dementia and living on his own, he often wanders around the Shui-lian aboriginal community on barefoot. Where on earth is he going? Will he remember his way home? Meanwhile, Grandpa Wang is almost one hundred years old, in good health and loves steamed buns. He hasn’t cooked many steamed buns in recent years though. So when he craves them, he will take the bus to buy them at the market. Grandpa Qin, 88 years old, suffers from dementia as well, but he hasn’t forgotten the time he was held captive during the Korean War. Those hard times dealing with starvation are still vivid when he tries to recall them.

A Real Meal is a documentary about the elderly on this path. After growing old, how do the lonely elderly pass each day? It’s also about the lives of the caregivers who accompany and assist the elderly.

The meal delivery woman, Tsai-e, drives a truck through the roads and alleys every day, be it sunshine or rain. For more than seven years, the warm lunchboxes she has delivered to the elderly have become a part of their daily routine while also being the focus of her own everyday life. This task, somehow, has shown her that life is transitory. “One of my colleagues once delivered a lunchbox in the morning, and the grandpa said hello to her. She went back in the afternoon, but he had already passed away.” She develops close ties with these elderly people, which makes her wonder, “we will get old one day, and what it is going to be like then?”

Having a meal seems a very routine thing, but it is essential for life. A Real Meal is a film about time, food and memory. When was the last time you checked or cared if the elderly near you were having a proper meal?


Singing Chen: Director’s Q&A

Director Singing Chen will join our Taiwan Post-New Wave Cinema Project audience to answer questions on her featured works and share her perspective

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