Private Project

After Passing Away

As real estate prices in Taiwan soar ever higher, it now takes up to three decades to secure one’s permanent home through loans averaging millions of Taiwanese dollars. Most structures are weary and old when such debts are finally paid off. Our protagonist has spent the majority of his adult and parental life working at the Yang family restaurant during the day, and sleeping in the store’s attic at night.

Yang San-eii has never owned a home, nor does he plan to join the debt game now. At the age of 50, he decides instead to construct one with his own energy and time, and opts for traditional Japanese-style carpentry that omits the need for nails.

In his mind, the Yang family house will stand tall for a century, as a sustainably sourced and eco-friendly structure. But during the decades-long construction, his family’s livelihood is solely dependent on his wife, who is propping up the restaurant alone. The Yangs and their daughters are now the focus of community gossip.

Chatter aside, the sorest point of stress is economical. With no end in sight, the project’s limbo status has led the two daughters to leave home for work and love. These structural changes, as well as other interpretations of belonging, challenge Yang’s sense of mission.

A man with a broken childhood, will Yang be able to complete his dream home and secure a future for his family? “After Passing Away” is an intimate study of what “family” and “home” mean to the wider Mandarin-speaking community.

  • Yu-Ting Su
  • Yu-Ting Su
  • Ching-Sung Liao
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Family, Culture, Social Political Issue
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 58 minutes 48 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 25, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    120,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Chinese, Chinese - Min Nan, Japanese
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • BUSAN International Film Festival
    Korea, Republic of
    October 5, 2022
    World Premiere
    Wide Angle Documentary Competition
  • Kaohsiung Film Festival
    October 22, 2022
    Taiwan Premiere
Director Biography - Yu-Ting Su

Born in 1982, Angel Yu-Ting Su is an independent Taipei filmmaker with a journalism degree from Taiwan’s NCCU. At 22, she came across Canadian director Anika Tokarchuk's “Life as Cinema” as a director assistant to help document how Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, a reincarnated lama, made the celebrated movie “The Cup” to echo the true story of exiled Tibetans. This was her introduction to the magical world of filmmaking.Su believes that every household has a family album containing key memories, and that documentaries, which tell the stories of people in anticipation for all to see, form the proverbial album of society.

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Director Statement

Upon getting married in 2011, I was immediately pressured into buying an apartment. Mere half-hour realtor appointments were allotted to help me commit decades and millions of dollars in exchange for a place to stay. I began to wonder, what was the reason for going through all this? This was when I met Yang San-eii, a self-trained architect determined to forge a new home with his bare hands.

In the past ten years spent documenting the Yangs, I’ve picked up a new role in addition to being a daughter and wife — that of a mother. My camera lens roam from a man consumed by his dream to house his family, to panning in upon the three women who enable and rejuvenate him through tears and laughter.

This film addresses not only the social-economic constraints of our times, but also delves deep into the challenges that greet home seekers every step of the way. What is the line that divides “house” from “home”? What of the “home away from home” constructed by Yang’s daughters and all those who yearn for a place to call their own? What do we hope to leave behind once we pass away — for whom and why?