Thu, May 23, 2002 - Page 11 News List

'Blue Gate' opens at Cannes

Taiwanese director Yee Chih-yen's story about teenagers' tumultuous lives unspooled in the film festival's Director's Fortnight selection

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

PHOTO COURTESY OF ARC LIGHT

Many have cried walking out of the movie theater after watching Taiwanese director Yee Chih-yen's (易智言) Blue Gate Crossing (藍色大門), but the audience can be heard laughing throughout the film.

Following Tuesday's well-received screening at the Hotel Noga Hilton, the main site of the Director's Fortnight section of this year's Cannes International Film Festival, audience and journalists alike filed into the press conference to fire off a seemingly endless stream of questions about the film. Both Yee and his producer, Peggy Chiao (焦雄屏), wore smiles of satisfaction.

French journalists referred to Blue Gate as a "gay" film, a categorization with which Yee took issue. "For me, it's not a film about homosexuality. It's rather a film about young people coping with their problems in life," Yee said.

The film is set in a Taipei City high school and looks at the life of three teens during an unforgettable summer. Guei Lun-mei (桂綸鎂), an 18-year-old first-time actress, plays the confused Meng Kerou, who often laments that she is no longer a carefree soul. She carries one secret too many.

Lin Yue-zhen, played by Liang Shu-hui (梁淑慧), is Meng's antithesis. A traditional-minded, sweet girl who imagines an ideal life with an ideal husband when she grows up. Lin secretly adores Zhang Shihao, played by Chen Bo-lin, (陳柏霖), a boy from her class who's on the swimming team.

Lin goes to the swimming pool every night to spy on Zhang, who sneaks into the closed swimming pool to practice. She collects the used bottles of mineral water Zhang finishes. She asks Meng, her best friend, to pass a love letter to Zhang."I want to be friends with you," she writes, but the "sunshine boy" becomes attached to the messenger, Meng, and waits around her door.

Zhang, a blithe spirit, is a guileless boy. "I'm Zhang from swimming team and guitar club. I'm not bad!" he always says to Meng. His two dearest wishes are to win the swimming championship and to become Meng's sweetheart. He's unaware of the secret Meng is about to tell him, the secret that might have them taste a melancholy they've never before tasted.

The Blue Gate Crossing is a seemingly simple light story about Taipei's teenagers looking inwards to see their souls.

Yee excels at exploring the intimate world of the main character, Meng -- her troubled self-image and emotionally tumultuous world. She's precocious and knows about loneliness earlier than her classmates. Although she has a nice heart and is friendly to Lin and Zhang, and also a gym teacher who becomes attracted to her, she cannot let them into her world.

"I feel sympathy with the character because I also feel a lot of solitude," Guei said. "It was not that difficult to enter the role. I feel that in reality there must be confused girls like Meng," she said.

Yee perfectly captures the nuances of being a teenager in middle-class Taipei. "We auditioned nearly 4000 teenagers and finally found Guei and Chen from the Hsimenting area last summer," Yee said.

In order to faithfully depict the world of high school, Yee went to school with the students everyday for two weeks. Yee is experienced in dealing with teenage subjects.

Having done several TV dramas about teenagers in previous years, he became a devoted observer of youth in Taipei.

"A lot of stories about teenagers have imposed too much moral judgement on their world. But I want a story from the teenager's point of view. They should find their own right or wrong," Yee said.

This story has been viewed 6197 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top