FIRST DATE is a touching portrayal of an adolescent’s journey to self-discovery in the late 1950’s in Taipei, Taiwan. FIRST DATE is a gentle and humorous story of transition from childhood to adulthood; tradition to modernization; to the cultural encounter between East and West.
Yang Jia Luo is a mischievous adolescent who attends a strict disciplinary high school. Bored and unchallenged at school, Jia Luo fantasizes about true love. Joining him in his exploits are his buddies, Mousie and Birdie. Armed with a stethoscope, they spend countless hours peeping on the neighbor, the beautiful sailor’s wife through a hole in the wall in Jia Luo’s room.
To escape the ugly reality of his drunken would-be writer father and his unfaithful mother, Jia Luo struggles to better himself and dreams one day of becoming a novelist.
Through time, Jia Luo develops a special relationship with his chemistry teacher and counselor, Mr. Liu. Nearly failing a semester’s worth of work, Mr. Liu becomes a mentor to young Jia Luo and more importantly, a source of inspiration.
His inquisitiveness of the outside world is fed by the often incorrect tidbits he garners from his classmate, Yo Niao, a rich braggart and the son of a high ranking official. After Yo sets off an explosion in chemistry lab, Mr. Liu beats him for his carelessness. Yo is humiliated and after the incident, Mr. Liu vanishes from school.
Jia Luo becomes suspicious of Yo’s – rather, his father’s – involvement with Mr. Liu’s absence. He seeks revenge by attempting to steal Yo’s girlfriend, the heavenly Ms. Jade Cloud Forest.
FIRST DATE is a portrait of the complex emotions of youth and the simple pleasures of growing up.