Fri, Nov 09, 2007 - Page 17 News List

Fantasizing about the future

By Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

In 'The Wall-Passer', Jozie Lu plays Ya-hung, a Lara Croft-like hottie who creates a video game.

PHOTO: COURTESY OF DARK EYES

Director Hung Hung breaks away from the realism of Taiwanese cinema with his sci-fi romance 'The Wall-Passer'

Poet, theater director and filmmaker Hung Hung (鴻鴻) breaks away from the realism typical of Taiwanese cinema with his latest movie The Wall-Passer (穿牆人), a sci-fi romance.

Set in the near future, the film begins as 17-year-old Tye (Chang Yung-cheng, 張永政) moves from planet G40, where there's been an earthquake, to Real City.

On a field trip to a museum, Tye finds a radioactive rock that gives him the ability to pass through walls. He also meets and secretly falls for an alien employee named Nono (Lee Chia-ying, 李佳穎), who communicates through bionic earpieces.

The romance is cut off by the reappearance of Nono's French-speaking lover. After the alien leaves without a trace, Tye searches for her in a world called Elsewhere.

He never finds her, but does meet the leather-clad, blind hottie, Ya-hung (Jozie Lu, 路嘉欣). Eventually, he realizes that he is a character in a computer game that Ya-hung created. Tye lets Ya-hung take his place in the game so that she can experience family life.

They return to their own worlds and 20 years pass by. The middle-aged Tye comes to what looks like the end of the world during a company outing. There, he sees a girl who resembles his long-lost love, Nono.

Inspired by French novelist and playwright Marcel Ayme's short story Le Passe-Muraille and Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville, the film is a coming-of-age story about a lone boy growing into a considerate individual who gradually accepts the world as it is. Abundant in symbology and metaphors, the film is also about Tye's dreams.

Rather than lavishing money on expensive post-production special effects, Hung Hung and the crew members, including cinematographer Jake Pollock, build up an aura of fantasia through creative art direction and unique "hand-crafted visual effects," according to a statement by the director.

The stylistic use of rear projection inspired by Lars Von Trier's Europa exudes a dream-like psychological world. Black-and-white cinematography also helps perpetuate this feeling, while specially exposed color film gives the sci-fi flick a metallic blue-green hue.

The smooth flow of the film was enabled by meticulously planned camera movements. Among the most impressive is Tye's first experience passing through a wall.

The release of The Wall-Passer closely follows that of fellow mold-breaking director Wu Mi-sen's (吳米森) Amour-Legende (松鼠自殺事件).

"The 1980s and 1990s saw a fine oeuvre of realistic films, but now Taiwanese cinema is limited. We will come to a dead-end if things continue going in the same direction ... ." Hung Hung said. "Wu and I are sort of among the first ones to take up the challenge, that is, to create something different and not be concerned with what is expected from us as Taiwanese directors."

Film notes

The Wall-Passer

(穿牆人)

DIRECTED BY: Hung Hung (鴻鴻)

STARRING: Chang Yung-cheng (張永政) as Tye, Lee Chia-ying (李佳穎) as Nono, Jozie Lu (路嘉欣) as Ya-hung

LANGUAGE: In Mandarin with Chinese and English subtitles

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

TAIWAN RELEASE: Today

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