An immigrant story

A cross-generational letter

A transformational journey for the quiet Taiwanese culture

Tigertail is a film directly by Alan Yang (co-creator of Master of None) loosely based on his own family. The story revolves around the theme of cross-generational relationship with Pin-Jui being a son, a husband and a father.

Pin-Jui grew up in central Taiwan in Huwei, Yunlin (Tigertail is the English direct translation of Huwei) with his mother. From central Taiwan, he explores his relationship with his childhood love, Yuan, and then contrasts it with his matchmade partner, Zhenzhen, as he moves to New York. Working hard, Pin-Jui becames a successful man but an estranged and closed-off husband and father. The largest character growth is around Pin-Jui as he learns from his mother, wife, lover and daughter.

Tigertail (film) - Wikipedia

In the end, this is a coming of age movie. While not for a teenager becoming an adult, but for a closed-off parent to forming a connection with those around him. This movie will speak to Taiwanese Americans, and even largely, Asian Americans, about cross-generational communication. For people who know Mandarin well, there may be a bit of pull away from the story as many characters have accents that seem out of place.

Fun Facts

  • The story of Yuan is an added storyline that Alan used to accentuate Pin-Jui’s character
  • The choice of having the story also revolving around Pin-Jui’s daughter instead of son (which would have been Alan) was for the film to explore how Pin-Jui interacts with the four most important women in his life (his mother, love, wife and daughter)
  • While most people like Pin-Jui is more likely to be responding to their parents in Taiwanese, this may have been a stylistic choice to show the three generations speaking in three different languages to show that they are literally not speaking the same language.