My Heavenly City to be released in UK cinemas by Trinity CineAsia from 11 November.

★★★☆☆ 3/5

My Heavenly City is a musing on actively learning about one’s reality. In this case, that of the Taiwanese community in New York. Not simply because two of the three stories centre around a graduate student and a computer science undergraduate, but as self- discovery is the unifying process between three strands of life.

Manifesting the luminal into a tangible practice could this be perceived as the origin of art. The translator keeping a notebook of mundane events, a couple expressing themselves through the shared love of hip-hop and a mother who’s photography adjusts her emotional bearings.

Sen-I Yu expands the 2020 short film rendering with a measured approach. The wider canvas, however, did not inspire a nuanced portrait. The city of New York could have been explored further as a character in itself. Instead it almost serves as an ethereal medium.

That being said, Sen-I Yu expresses the willingness and ability to convey diaspora stories that are both critical and empathetic.

Whether this leads to Altman-esque tapestries, connecting countries and generations, or an induced dreamlike malaise of the Shunji Iwai flavour, it’s exciting to see a fresh voice being supported. After this debut feature, I look forward to following the direction she takes from this unique starting place.


This review does not reflect on the view of the organisation.