Fri, Nov 26, 2004 - Page 13 News List

A survival kit for the Golden Horse festival

The annual film festival is even more popular this year, with many films already sold out By Yu Sen-lunStaff Reporter

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Triple Agent.

The Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (台北金馬影展) began yesterday. It is the country's biggest movie showcase and there will be 113 non-Hollywood, arthouse-based films shown in an 11-day period.

As usual, European and Asian movies constitute the backbone of the program, the films of which have been selected from major film festivals throughout the year such as those at Cannes in France, Berlin, Venice in Italy and Busan in South Korea. A string of special screenings, panel discussions, guest speeches will also be held throughout the festival.

The Warner Village Cinema in Xinyi district has been packed since yesterday. Many of the screenings have already sold out but there are still chances to enjoy some good films..

Master class

The Masterpiece section is a collection of works by renowned or revered filmmakers, such as Eric Rohmer, Alain Resnais and Jean-Luc Godard from France, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders from Germany, Woody Allen and Robert Altman from US. Regrettably, most of these screenings have sold out.

Eric Rohmer's Triple Agent is the 84 year-old master's re-interpretation of European history in the 1930s. The lead character is a Russian spy living in Paris with his Greek artist wife. The Spanish Civil War breaks out and World War II is about to begin. The story slowly unravels the triple identity of the lead actor and the moral complex he faces.

Also, Alain Resnais returns this year, this time with a musical, Not On the Lips. Set in the 1920s, it is a mixture of romantic drama and satire, with sophisticated singing and dancing sequences.

The Company by Robert Altman is a documentary-style film about ballet dancers' struggles and artistic achievements. Neve Campbell plays the struggling dancer in a Chicago ballet company.

Che Guevara revisited

Another section is a collection of world cinema films from major film festivals in the past year. It is a popular section among moviegoers. Motorcycle Diaries, an adaptation of Cuban revolutionary hero Che Guevara's autobiography, starring Mexican young star Gael Garcia, has quickly sold out. The same has happened with Nine Songs, another work by English director Michael Winterbottom that explores rock 'n' roll and sex.

But there are still good movies available in this section, such as The Singing Detective, a black comedy about a terminally ill writer's fantasy world, where he imagines the hospital as a gangster world and himself as a detective who loves to sing. Robert Downey Jr. plays the singing detective and Adrien Brody, Robin Wright Penn and Mel Gibson make guest appearances.

Bon Voyage is a French star-studded movie, about love and loyalty in Paris under the German occupation in World War II. It's a film with action, adventure and suspense starring Isabelle Adjani, Virginie Ledoyen and Gerard Depardieu.

The Suit by Russian director Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov is another film worth watching which has been neglected by movie fans. It uses a flowing and fluent lens to look at the careless lives of three young men from a small town near the Black Sea. The three boys dream of having a suit that makes them look flashy. But the suit also brings them trouble.

Window on Asia

Asian Window this year sees the rising filmmaking power of Taiwan's neighboring countries, Thailand, South Korea and The Philippines. Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cannes winning film,Tropical Malady begins with a romance between a military officer and a soldier, in a quiet town in Northern Thailand. The story then enters the jungle with the two lead characters searching for the legendary White Tiger Spirit.

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