Fri, Jun 26, 2009 - Page 16 News List

Taipei Film Festival shines the spotlight on Berlin

This year’s Taipei Film Festival celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a program that focuses on the German capital’s rich history

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

East Berlin-born Andreas Dresen is noted for his sober and sometimes-humorous portraits of ordinary people caught in terrible dilemmas. His Cloud 9 is a compelling story about love, passion and betrayal that besets a trio of characters at the sunset of their lives. It tackles the theme of sexuality in old age and includes explicit scenes.

Non-German films on the international program include a batch of movies from Latin America. Meet the Head of Juan Perez opens with the severed head of a circus magician recalling what caused its separation from the rest of its body. Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s second feature The Milk of Sorrow, winner of the Golden Bear award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, evokes magical realism in its tale of a daughter’s deeply buried secrets and fear.

The latest works of film masters can be found in the City Vision section, which includes Atom Egoyan’s Adoration, Claude Chabrol’s Bellamy and Bluebeard by Catherine Breillat.

Opponents of globalization will want to check out the hilarious and shocking documentaries The Yes Men and The Yes Men Fix the World, in which gonzo activists successfully pose as corporate and government spokespersons. Mike Bonanno, one of the directors, will attend the festival for question-and-answer sessions.

The festival’s international competition for emerging directors includes films by Taiwan’s Cheng Yu-chieh (鄭有傑) and Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏). Also vying for the NT$600,000 grand prize is Cannes-winner Pablo Aguero with Salamandra, about a boy raised in a hippie commune in Patagonia. Another strong competitor, Disgrace, examines the lingering impacts of apartheid policies in South Africa. It was directed by American actor-turned-director Steve Jacobs and stars John Malkovich.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of King Hu’s (胡金銓) kung-fu masterpieces Legend of the Mountain (山中傳奇) and Raining in the Mountain (空山靈雨). There will be screenings of both films and an exhibition at the Red House (西門紅樓) of the late maestro’s film manuscripts, drawings, production photographs and other rarely seen documents.

German directors Wolfgang Becker, Sanders-Brahms and Martin Koerber, head of the film department at Filmmuseum Berlin, will hold a panel discussion at the German Cultural Center on Monday.

For more information, go to the festival’s bilingual Web site at www.taipeiff.org.tw. As of press time, the Web site’s English-language section was not fully operational.

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