Two years after Yi yi
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
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.
Among the Taiwanese films, Leon Dai's
Alex Yang's (楊順清) The Trigger (扣板機) is a dramatic story about a young man's relations with his troublesome acquaintances: his mother, who is a religious fanatic; his boss, the ex-gang leader who took care of him like a father; and his dysfunctional girlfriend, who was molested by her stepfather.
Mirror Image (命帶追逐) is Hou Hsiao-hsien pupil Hsiao Ya-chuan's (蕭雅全) debut film, an urban rhapsody about destiny and coincidence. Wu Mi-sen's (吳米森) Drop Me a Cat (給我一隻貓) is also a debut film, and it won Best Art Direction at the Golden Horse Awards. In it, a man struggles with the memory of his dead girlfriend and a mysterious new girl, who suddenly appears in his life just like the quiet cat his late girlfriend left for him. Another debut film is Teng Yung-shing's (鄧勇星) Love at 7-Eleven (7-Eleven之戀), about two parallel love stories taking place in Taiwan's ubiquitous retail establishment -- 7-Eleven.
The guests joining the three panel discussions are also highly anticipated. They include Philip Lee
What: Asian Next Wave Film Forum
Where: SPOT -- Taipei Film House, located at 18 Chungshan N. Rd., Sec. 2, Taipei
When: Opens tonight with a screening of Somewhere Over the Dreamland at 8:40pm; from tomorrow until Dec. 20, there will be three daytime movie screenings and three evening screenings each day
Tickets: Free for the daytime screenings, available at SPOT, Eslite bookstores and Fnac; NT$200 for the evening screenings, available at Acer ticketing outlets or direct from the venue
Telephone: (02) 2511-7786
On the Web: www.spot.org.tw
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