No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (Cannot Live Without You)

Also known as Bu neng mei you ni and No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti,alt Cannot Live Without You is the second effort from Taiwanese filmmaker Leon Dai, an emotionally charged social drama, based on a true story of a odd-jobs labourer’s desperate fight for custody of his daughter.


For those of you not so hip on the wonders of Taiwanese movie productions, Leon Dai, also a well-known actor, made his feature debut with box office hit Twenty Something Taipei in 2002, (he is awesome as an actor as well in The Passage.alt His newest release tells the tale of Wu-Hsiung, father of a seven-year-old girl, who lives in a fishing village in Kaohsiung with his her. Despite his lower level of income, they live a simple but satisfying life.

When his daughter reaches the age for school, he has to struggle with the police department and the social workers for her custody and domicile registration. Driven by desperation for help, he dares to challenge society with daunting moves to fight for the right to live with his daughter.

Adapted from a real life drama that took place in Taiwan, this is a movie that will touch your heart. The incident that inspired this film happened back in 2003.

More than six Taiwanese TV channels had live broadcasts of the man threatening to jump off the pedestrian bridge with his daughter. The coverage continued for about twenty minutes and momentarily the nation was gripped. However, no follow-ups of the news were seen on TV ever again.

It was a story that needed to be told. The director, Dai Li-Ren (also known as Leon Dai) shot the movie in black and white, saying “I spent a long time thinking how to tell the story but I couldn’t fine the right “color tone” for it. I realized that by making the film in simple black-and-white, it may be less appealing for the commercial market. But I hope the audience will be able to use more of their imagination and to give these images their own colors.”

Leon Dai is a well-known actor and director in Taiwan. He has participated in more than 30 films since 1993 and has been awarded several prizes for his work. His first short film, Summers (2001), was nominated for a film competition in the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. In 2002 he directed his first feature film, Twenty Something Taipei, which became the second-highest grossing film of the year in Taiwan.

For the starring role of Wu-Hsiung Li, Leon cast Wen-Pin Chen, who makes his debut as an actor in this movie showing promise as a real star actor. Chen used to be an independent film director himself, his documentary Shikang Story was nominated for the best documentary in the 41st Golden Horse Awards. He directed and wrote the short film Once Upon A Time and won the Platinum Remi Award at the 41st Houston International Film Festival.

In the role of his daughter Mei, was cast Yo-Hsuan Chao, an amazingly talented young lady who was born into an artistic family. Both her parents are art workers. She is comfortable working with and being surrounded by adults, although she is only nine.

Beautifully shot, this emotional tale of one man’s struggle to be in his daughter’s life in a society which is rigidly structured will move even the coldest heart. Shot in the parts of Taiwan the average visitor rarely gets to see, it’s also a insightful peek into the life of everyday Taipei.