Taiwan Latino Film Festival 2011
For the newest installment of the POP Cinema mini-festivals, titled Taiwan Latino Film Festival 2011, Spot — Taipei Film House (光點—台北之家) has put together a top-notch lineup of 26 award-winning films, from 17 Latin American countries, that have never before been shown in Taiwan. Works on the lineup include The Tiniest Place, by director Tatiana Huezo, who in the film returns to her hometown where villagers are struggling to get on with life following the end of the Salvadoran civil war (1980 to 1992). Other highlights include Postcards From Leningrad, a biographic work that recalls director Mariana Rondon’s life as a little girl when her parents fought as guerrillas in Venezuela during the 1960s and 1970s, and Peruvian director Claudia Llosa’s feature debut Madeinusa, an imaginative tale about a 14-year-old girl living in a remote Andean village. Taiwan Latino Film Festival 2011 takes place today through Jan. 6, 2012, at Spot — Taipei Film House (光點—台北之家), 18, Zhongshan N Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市中山北路二段18號), and Dec. 30 to Jan. 5, 2012, at Kaohsiung Film Archive (高雄市電影館), 10 Hesi Rd, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市河西路10號). Tickets are NT$200 per screening (NT$170 for SPOT members) in Taipei, and NT$80 in Kaohsiung, available through NTCH ticketing outlets or online at www.artsticket.com.tw. For more information, visit www.twfilm.org/taiwan-lation.
Initiated by the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (金馬影展), this compilation of 20 short films is an ambitious joint effort by 10 established directors and 10 up-and-coming talents in Taiwan. Each contributor was invited to make a five-minute film that deals with what he or she thinks is unique to the country. The results are movies on diverse topics ranging from the themes of authoritarianism and rebellion in Yang Ye-che’s (楊雅?) The Singing Boy (唱歌男孩) and bullying in Chung Mong-hong’s (鍾孟宏) chilling Echo (回音), to the suffering caused by dementia in Old Man and Me (老人與我), by seasoned director Cheng Wen-tang (鄭文堂), and Cheng Yu-chieh’s (鄭有傑) Unwritten Rules (潛規則), an hilarious exposition on the dilemma local filmmakers face when they try to sell their films to China. The series ends with Hou Hsiao-hsien’s (侯孝賢) serene La Belle Epoque, in which a grandmother passes down family mementos to her young granddaughter. For more information, visit the film’s official blog at tenplusten.pixnet.net/blog.
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Does the world need another Alvin and the Chipmunks movie? With the festive season in full swing, the producers behind this third iteration, subtitled “Chip-wrecked,” clearly think that they are on to a sure thing; and they are probably right. The cast members, many who have stayed on from the previous film, have a nice rapport, and director Mike Mitchell has established a good balance between Chipmunk and human action in the film. The plot: Alvin and friends are accidentally marooned on a seemingly deserted island. (Of course it isn’t actually deserted.) While the story never manages to root itself in the imagination, there is plenty of innocent fun to be had, and there is also an unexceptional moral message. Attempts to cater to parents are not particularly successful, but the target audience will probably leave the movie theater satisfied.
Written and directed by Taiwanese American Rocky Jo (龍毅), this debut feature by a director coming out of TV advertising does not seem to promise much in the way of originality, but the cast, led by Ariel Lin (林依晨) and Chen Bo-lin (陳柏霖), are likely to draw a starstruck audience. Lin is the beautiful and independent-minded Ruo Ching, who has vowed to never love again after having her heart broken, and Chen is the high-flying doctor Che Han, who she accidentally meets after falling over while visiting a hospital. Of course, the path of true love does not run smooth, and there are busybody relatives and a romantic rival to keep the story going. Also features versatile TV host and actor Ken Lin (better known as A-Ken, 林暐恆), who provides some comedy playing six different characters.