Ayu is a 16-year-old senior high school student. She wakes up one day and finds herself leading a life which feels familiar but somehow strange to her. Her home has been turned into a clinic and her family have disappeared! After stumbling into a series of bewildering incidents, she comes to the conclusion that, just like Alice in Wonderland, she has landed in a fantasy world, where only an old and lonely failed businessman will talk to her. Moreover, the old man takes her home to keep her warm and looks after her with love and care. In Ayu’s dream, neither time nor space feels coherent. Nothing in this world seems connected with reality. It has such a strange impact on Ayu that she begins to behave bizarrely: she goes to the bathroom but forgets to have a shower; she gets lost while chasing after an imaginary figure; she can’t remember the things she has done and she falsely accuses their maid of stealing. The old man tolerates all of this erratic behaviour, but still having no one to share his burden, he is becoming overwhelmed by feelings of desperation. Ayu feels the distant memories hidden inside her and tries every means of retrieving them. Known for his experimental animations and unique visual style, Lai Chunyu made his directorial debut with Dying Away ( 2004 ). After a best visual effects award in 2005 for Silk ( Chao-bin Su ), Chunyu returns as the director of Ayu, a feature with a very specific subject matter: “It’s so easy for us to take our daily life for granted, and only when we loose what we had in the past will we begin to appreciate it ( … )”.

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