Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Taiwan shows that small can be beautiful too

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Yang Kuei-mei, left, and Lin Cheng-sheng pose at Taiwan Night, in Cannes, France.

PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN, TAIPEI TIMES

Around 200 guests showed up for Taiwan Night at Cannes, packing a Chinese restaurant so full that some guests had to take their food outside and eat by the door.

And although many went on Tuesday for a free feed, the party was satisfying for the organizer, Taiwan's Government Information Office (GIO), because it looked as if all the important buyers for Taiwanese films had gathered there.

They were also, coincidentally, the people who selected Taiwanese films or gave prizes to filmmakers such as Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), Edward Yang (楊德昌) and Cheng Wen-tang. (鄭文堂).

Every year at Cannes, the GIO holds a dinner party to treat Taiwan's filmmakers as well as international buyers and distributors. But it is usually informal and less business-oriented than it was on Tuesday, where producers stood by the bar pitching new projects and story ideas.

Perhaps the shadow of SARS had an impact on the party?

Originally it was scheduled to be held in the ballroom of a hotel, but a week ago GIO organizers were told the hotel ballroom could not be used as it was "inconvenient."

Cannes Festival organizers had arranged health check-ups for the GIO, as well as delegates of the Central Motional Picture Corp (中影), a film company representing Lin's Robinson's Crusoe (魯賓遜漂流記).

"I think they [check-ups] are necessary. We are representing Taiwan and we feel responsible," Yang said.

Taiwanese filmmaker Lin Cheng-sheng (林正盛) was the country's only filmmaker at this year's party and his actress Yang Kuei-mei (楊貴媚) appeared to be the only star, with a NT$200,000 Christian Dior dress.

Lin looked pretty content at the party because not only did he have a film to show the next day in the Un Certain Regard category, but also his new project -- planned to be a Taiwan-France co-production -- is going smoothly.

Compared with Hong Kong night, which was held on the Carlton Hotel's luxurious beach, or Korean night, which took place on the roof of the Hotel Sofitel, with grand views of the beach and the harbor, Taiwan night seemed cozy and laid-back.

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