Film festivals rain down on Taipei's cinephiles

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Oct 03, 2003 - Page 15

It's now the busy season for movie fans, with three film festivals this weekend in Taipei. There is the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF), the Classic Truffaut Film Festival (經典楚浮影展) and the Kinmen Film Festival (一種凝視 -- 金門影展).

TIEFF was praised last year for its solid selection and international scope. Migration is the theme for the second year of the festival, with 22 international films and 11 Taiwanese films chosen for screenings. The festival starts today at the Majestic Cinema.

The Crazy Masters by veteran French documentary maker Jean Rouch and Experimental Taiwanese by local director Wu Mi-sen (吳米森) are the two opening films. The former describes a unique religious ritual in West Africa, often practiced by rural migrants from Niger to Ghana. The latter tells the story of a 70-year-old man from China, who learns Taiwanese in order to understand his neighbors better.

The festival's closing films are music-related and about migration. Droppin' Lyrics by Atsushi Ucci is about young Japanese immigrants in the US. Using hip-hop music, they express their identities as Americans while looking toward their mother country. Country Road 184 by Ho Chao-ti (賀照緹) talks about the Labor Exchange band and their home town Meinung, where increasing numbers of foreign brides are arriving.

Music fans also should not miss two films about the power of silence. Silent Song by Aine O'Brien and Alan Grossman from the UK is about Kurdish composer Mohamed Abbas Bharam. In 1976, Bharam refused to sing for the celebration of Sadam Hussein and was forced into exile in Edinburgh. Silent Cello is the musical and personal journey of US cellist David Darling to Bunun villages in Taiwan's Nantou county. It's also a musical conversation between the cello and Bunun music.

The Classic Truffaut Film Festival is for those who seek movies from the 1960s. Four films by the French filmmaker Francois Truffaut will be shown at Spring Cinema from today. They are The 400 Blows (1959), an intimate look at childhood and escape, Jules et Jim (1962), a classic boy-meets-girl tale and a chance to revisit the screen charms of Jeanne Moreau. Two English Girls (1971) and Shoot the Pianist (1960) are the other films. To the surprise of the organizers tickets for the mini film festival are running out fast.

Last but not least, for those who seek the underground spirit or just pure sensation, the Kinmen Film Festival is back in Taipei. Three independent films from the Kinmen-based Firefly Image Company (螢火蟲映像體) will be shown at the Huashan Arts District. The Kinmenese Tracks (火車在海邊游) talks about illegal boat trading between Kinmen and Xiamen -- which has been going on long before the government's "small three links" policy was introduced.

Escaping Taipei tells the story of three women all wanting to get away from Taiepi. The mostly eagerly anticipated film, however, is Liberate the War Zones, a film that looks at nude women posing in different locations symbolic of war in Kinmen.