Fri, Dec 03, 2004 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan joins the party in Goa, while `Alexander' causes ructions


Five Taiwanese feature films made their debuts at the 35th India International Film Festival in Goa, on the coast of western India, an official from the Government Information Office (GIO) has confirmed.

It is the first time that Taiwan-produced movies have been screened in an Indian film festival and although they are not in competition. They are being screened as part of the Fifth Films in Country Focus feature, which is designed to promote the understanding of different countries through their films.

The five Taiwanese films chosen by the GIO to play at Goa are all realistic depictions of local life.

The first film was screened Tuesday, Formula-17, by Chen Ying-jung. Simon Hsieh, the director of the Information Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi, gave a speech about the overall view of Taiwan's film industry before the screening.

Taiwan was the only country whose films are being shown in this year's country focus feature.

Noting that India has the world's largest movie audience, the GIO official said Taiwan film makers are trying hard to make inroads into the India market and that hopefully, the Goa festival will set them off on the right foot.

Sundance reveals all

The Sundance Film Festival, the premier US showcase for independent cinema, named the films that will compete at its festival in January, including documentaries about energy company Enron and Peru's fugitive president, Alberto Fujimori.

Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore said the program contained some of the best films Sundance had ever shown and added that for the first time the festival would feature contests for best foreign dramas and documentaries.

Films in the best dramatic film competition include How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, about three generations of Mexican-American women, At

Loggerheads about estranged families in North Carolina and Forty Shades of Blue, which tells of a Russian woman living in Memphis, Tennessee.

Documentaries include Enron: Rise and Fall about the scandal that rocked the Houston energy company, The Fall of Fujimori, about the Peruvian president who beat a terrorist movement only to become a fugitive himself, and Murderball about quadriplegics who play full-contact rugby.

As usual, Sundance films include the truly unusual. This year has Thumbsucker, about a boy who "attempts to break free of his addiction to his thumb."

Was he or wasn't she?

In ancient Greece it was no sin for an artist to bend accepted rules or facts for the sake of rhyme, meter or plot.

But many modern Greeks fail to display the same magnanimity when it comes to their ancestors' history. A group of Greek lawyers has asked an Athens court to censor Alexander the Great, US director Oliver Stone's three-hour epic about the 4 BC Macedonian King, before it opens in Greece today. The plaintiffs want the court to ban scenes suggesting that Alexander, one of history's greatest conquerors, was bisexual.

Modern Greek society stigmatizes same-sex relations. The country's influential Orthodox church has officially declared homosexuality "a flaw." Average Greeks reject notions that such relations were common among their ancestors.

Two years ago, nationalist hecklers in the northern city of Salonica shouted down Australian historian Kate Mortensen after she claimed in a congress there that Alexander the Great's father Philipp was assassinated by his male lover.

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