Sat, May 24, 2003 - Page 16 News List

`Robinson's Crusoe' takes the spotlight


It was a sunny afternoon in the south of France as director Lin Cheng-sheng (林正盛) escorted actress Yang Kuei-mei (楊貴媚) onto the blue carpet and into the Theater Claude Debussy for the Cannes screening of Robinson's Crusoe (魯賓遜漂流記).

Yang wore a white Christian Dior dress, a pair of sapphire-colored shoes and jewelry, worth a total of NT$4 million. "Bonjour!" she said, smiling to the crowds standing by the fence outside the theater.

It was Yang's third visit to Cannes, she first visited for Ang Lee's (李安) film Eat Drink Man Woman (飲食男女) and then for Tsai Ming-liang's (蔡明亮) The Hole (洞). At the screening of Robinson's Crusoe, she was the only film star from Taiwan appearing at Cannes this year.

The film's other cast members, including lead actor Leon Dai (戴立忍) and actress Chen Hsiang-chi (陳湘琪) were unable to make the trip because of filming commitments.

"Each time I come here, I'm always happy," said Yang on Thursday, who plays a business woman trading in real estate.

It was also Lin's third time to attend Cannes, though his first in six years. He previously turned up at the film festival for A Drifting Life (春花夢露) in 1996 and Murmur of Youth (美麗在唱歌) in 1997.

Lin and Yang were loudly cheered as they walked in and out of the theater for the showing of their film Robinson's Crusoe, and they responded graciously to the crowds.

Lin's sixth film deals with the lives and loves of middle-class and middle-aged people in Taipei. The protagonist, Robinson (Leon Dai) sells luxury homes, but cannot buy, or even rent one, and settle down with his girlfriend.

The handsome loner lives in a designer hotel and dreams of running away and starting a new life.

His colleagues, girlfriend, families and friends are all trying hard to survive and seek love in the urban jungle of Taipei.

But he tries to turn away from the burden of love and the emotions of those acquaintances, to live on Crusoe Island in the Caribbean.

The metaphor seems to be that in the sea of Taipei's urban life, he is turning himself into an island.

Lin admitted the film mirrors his own mid-life crunch. "The film deals with my own inexplicable life crisis. Such a crisis does not involve any outward signs.

"The outside remains materially full, but it is spiritually empty ... something's just not right ... something is gone and may be irretrievably lost," Lin said of his experience.

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