Since the success of Cape No. 7 (海角七號) in 2008, the local film industry has produced many lookalike movies inspired by local culture and people. “Grassroots movies have repeated themselves, and the viewer doesn’t necessarily approve of them all. Movies ought to be diverse. We should try new things,” the director notes.
If everything goes well with Zone Pro Site, Chen’s next feature film will be a mega-budget martial arts comedy.
The genre of political satire also interests Chen, who has always been outspoken on sociopolitical issues like the Wenlin Yuan (文林苑) urban renewal project and the cross-strait service trade pact. Last year, Chen joined a group of writers, artists and fellow directors including Ko Yi-cheng (柯一正), Leon Dai (戴立忍) and Wu Yi-feng (吳乙峰) in organizing a flash mob on Ketagalan Boulevard (凱達格蘭大道) against nuclear power.
For Chen, fresh ideas come naturally by paying attention to society. He likes to study people, a habit picked up during his compulsory military service. “There were so many interesting people from all walks of life. Some grew vegetables; some painted houses, and some sold fish for a living. Their lives were so different from mine and really fun too,” he recalls.
Regardless of genre, he is the same director — the kind who truly cares about his audience.
“If you don’t care about others, your works will be cold and indifferent, and no one will care about them,” Chen says.