Synopsis by Mark Deming
A child struggles to make his way out of a cycle of neglect and abuse in this drama from Taiwanese director Chung Mong-hong. Ten-year-old Xiang (Bi Xiao-hai) is the only member of his family to attend the funeral of his father, and having been abandoned by his mother years before, he's left alone and must fend for himself. When Xiang is caught stealing his classmates' lunches at school, custodian Zhang (King Shih-chieh) tries to help the boy and contacts a social worker, who reunites Xiang and his mother Chun-lan (Hao Lei). However, Chun-lan, who married Xiang's father only to obtain citizenship in Taiwan, has a new husband and baby son, and has little interest in making Xiang feel welcome in his new home. As Xiang tries to make sense of his new circumstances, he devotes himself to painting and strikes up a friendship with a boy (Na Dow) who introduces him to petty crime. But Xiang is haunted by the mental image of a boy, and as he tries to put his picture on paper, he is reminded of one of the darkest episodes in his family's sad history. Di Si Zhang Hua (aka The Fourth Portrait) was an official selection at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
abandonment, neglect, petty-crime, social-worker