One of Hou Hsiao-Hsien's best-known films, this semi-autobiographical drama follows the childhood and teenage years of Ah-ha, as he comes of age in the Taiwan countryside. Though born on the Chinese mainland, Ah-ha moves to Taiwan at a very early age when his father accepts a government position on the island. His family soon become permanent residents of the island, thanks to the Communist takeover of the mainland and his father's increasingly poor health. The family endures, despite serious financial difficulties that lead several of his older siblings to compromise their dreams for the sake of the common good, causing increasing tension between the family members. Soon, Ah-ha's father has passed away and his siblings have left home, leaving him responsible for the family's well-being while dealing with his own personal struggles.