Sat, Dec 14, 2002 - Page 16 News List

Asian Next Wave splashes down in Taipei

Inspired by his recent trip to the Pusan Film Festival in Korea, director Hou Hsiao-hsien is holding his own small movie screening and industry gathering


Two years after Yi yi (一一) won Edward Yang (楊德昌) Best Director at Cannes, not to mention numerous other awards and accolades, the film is finally set to be screened back home. It has been selected as the closing film for the Asian Next Wave Film Forum (亞太電影論壇), a mini film festival starting today, that was organized by Yang's best friend Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢).

Hou's friendship and his ambition to network Asian filmmaking talents have moved many of his friends to take part in his film festival. Asian Next Wave will showcase 14 Asian feature films and 6 shorts in a week's time, including Tsai Ming-liang's (蔡明亮) latest short film The Skywalk is Gone (天橋不見了), Wong Kar-wai's (王家衛) latest music video for DJ Shadow and the English-subtitled version of The Best of Times (美麗時光), by Chang Tso-chi (張作驥). Hou has also invited heavyweight Asian filmmakers to join his three panel discussions on Future Topics of Asian Filmmaking and weigh in with their viewpoints on production, directing and marketing. Each discussion will focus on one of these three aspects.

"Filmmaking is a group effort. People need to get together, form a party, a gang, to do things together," Hou said at a press conference yesterday. And for him, his newly established SPOT -- Taipei Film House provides an ideal forum for filmmakers, local or foreign, to meet up, inspire and work with each other. "Taiwan's filmmaking industry has shrunk to the level of a handicraft industry," Hou added. "So we are starting from ground zero, finding new talent, exchanging our experiences and our resources, and inspiring creativity."

A visual feast

But for movie fans, the event is also a movie feast with many films making their Taiwan debut. The festival's opening film is Cheng Wen-tang's (鄭文堂) Somewhere Over the Dreamland (夢幻部落), a winner at Venice Film Festival's International Critic's Week, and also winner of Best Taiwan Film of the Year at the Golden Horse Awards. The film is a love story about an Atayal Aborigine's life in the city and his lost dream of an idyllic life owning a rice field in the mountains.

After seeing Cheng's sentimental story, Hou remarked to Cheng that the film was the most touching, well-made film he had seen this year. "This is the must-see movie of the year," Hou said.

The closing film, Yi yi, which has just been selected by English film magazine Sight and Sound as one of the world's top 10 movies from the past 25 years, is essentially a calmer and more restrained version of American Beauty. It describes a Taipei middle class family's crisis and the inner desires of each family member. Those interested in seeing this film are advised to secure tickets promptly as they are selling out fast.

The Asian Next Wave is also showcasing the films of eight new local filmmakers and five Asian best-sellers from Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan. The other Asian films, which unfortunately have only Chinese subtitles, are Korean hit My Sassy Girl, Peter Chan's (Hong Kong) thriller Three -- Going Home, and ghost film The Eye. Also to be shown are the Thai ghost story Nang Nak and the Japanese comedy Water Boys.

Taiwan's up-and-comers

Among the Taiwanese films, Leon Dai's (戴立忍) short film Two Summers (兩個夏天), about a young girl's fantasies and strange encounters, has a fast, powerful narrative style that impressed Hou Hsiao-hsien. "The film's pacing is so unique and original that you immediately notice Dai's talent," Hou said.

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