Green Green Leaves of Home is the first Hakka language production in Taiwan film history. Set in the mid-seventies, the film tells a story both touching and nostalgic about the purity and the beauty of friendship, true love, simple way of living, and human nature.
It is the debut film by film critic and TV writer/director Deyung Chou. It challenges the current trends in Taiwan film production scene on two levels. One is its subject matter mentioned as above, Another is its narrative technigue Poetic Realism, against Social Realism commonly seen in recent Taiwan films
At the beginning of the film, A-yi finishes his studies in the big city and returns to his home town, Meinong, a well-known Hakka village in southern Taiwan. A-jie, the best friend of A-yi, chooses to stay in Kaohsiung for the sake of a wild city girl, Little Chu. A-jie is a fan of Bruce Lee. He drowns himself in disco music and sexual relationship with Little chu in spite of the upcoming college entrance examination.
In the meantime, when the tobacco harvest season begins in Meinong, A-yi come across U-mei, a tobacco-picking girl. Her kindness and cleverness attract A-yi immediately, They become close friends, caring and sharing their interests with each other.
U-mei is not strong as a Hakka woman should be. But she never hesitates to do farm works. She dreams about going to the big city to get more education so that she can be equal to A-yi. A-yi is deeply moved by her innocence. Their affection grows each day while A-jie faces the fear of losing Little Chu. A-jie is falling in love with Little Chu. He did’nt expect this. But now he is ready to accept what’s happening. He wants to love Little Chu with heart instead of body. However, he wonders if she thinks the same way as he does.
When the tobacco harvest season is over, A-yi and U-mei become closer and closer in spite of the disapproval of their families and the fact that A-yi had a crush on with U-mei’s second sister last winter. She promises to meet him again once he passes the college entrance examination,and they get together at last. Unfortunately leukemia is going to take her away again. He suffers from watching her fading away.
A-jie the end of the film, death cruelly takes U-mei, and Little Chu leaves A-jie for no reason. A-jie finally realizes the true meaning of love. It is exactly what has happened between A-yi and U-mei.
He failed the examination so he has to join the army. Before he leaves, he goes to see A-yi. Beside U-mei’s tomb, the two young men realize they’ve grown up. They are also aware that an age of innocence has gone forever along with U-mei’s death.