Tomorrow's stars of the screen today

`Tailly High -- New Talents, Young Cinema' will feature the best of what is yet to come in local film

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Aug 27, 2004 - Page 17

Who are the rising star actors in Taiwanese movies? Who has the potential to take over the director's seats from prestigious filmmakers such as Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) or Edward Yang (楊德昌)? The answers can be found in the films of the three-week film festival,Tailly High -- New Talents, Young Cinema (尋找國片的明日之星), which will take place at SPOT -- Taipei Film House (光點台北), starting today.

A total of 150 films have been selected for the festival. It is the biggest promotion of local cinema yet, by SPOT with the Government Information Office (新聞局, GIO), the government unit in charge of film policies.

Tailly High is, in fact, the name of a mascot created by the GIO to promote Taiwan cinema. It is a doll that wears a karate outfit and has two eyes and a nose that looks like a film camera. Since the beginning of this year, the GIO has used Tailly High as a symbol of its promotional events.

Six directors and eight actors are the highlight of the film festival. It is perhaps the first time Taiwanese actors having been so well promoted at a film festival. In a way it is a good sign, indicating that there aren't just well-known art-house directors in Taiwan, there are also good-looking actors establishing their screen personas and stardom.

Wing Fan (范植偉) is one of the actors who has found international fame in his movies. He is now managed by Wong Kar Wai's (王家衛) Jet Tone Films (澤東電影), getting chances to appear in the movies with Tony Leung (梁朝偉) and Chang Chen (張震). The festival will feature two of his movies, Darkness and Light (黑暗之光) and The Best of Times (美麗時光), both directed by Chang Tso-chi (張作驥). Moviegoers can see Wing playing a rebel, playing the namchacku, and being beaten up by gangsters.

Tony Yang (楊佑寧) and Duncan Chow (周坤達) are two actors who have found fame in the recent hit movie Formula 17 (十七歲的天空). In the movie, Yang is the boy from the country, on a trip to Taipei to find Mr. Right. Chow plays the the playboy and becomes the "bad guy." There will also be screenings of another of Chow's movies, Love Me, If You Can (飛躍情海).

Ariel Lin (林依晨), a celebrity and young actress who appears in many TV dramas and commercials, was nominated for the movie in the Best Actress category at the Golden Horse Awards lst year.

Another actress frequently chased by paparazzi is Terri Kwan (關穎), who allegedly is going out with Taiwan's No.1 male model Huang Chih-wei (黃志瑋). Kwan won a Golden Horse nomination for the movie Turn Left, Turn Right (向左走向右走) with her smooth, comic

performance. This film festival will screen her first movie, Drop Me A Cat (給我一隻貓).

In the New Directors in Focus section, young filmmaker Leste Chen (陳正道) is the one to watch. His Uninhibited (狂放) is the opening film of the festival and is in the recently announced line-up for the Venice Film Festival. The film has been selected for the Young Directors Competition.

Chen has a strong visual style, which can been attributed to the influence of TV commercials and music videos. But his storytelling is much more mature and fluid than most filmmakers of his generation.

Uninhibited is a story of three youngsters confronting phenomena such as young prostitution, abortion, drug and street culture, teacher-student relationships and homosexuality. The film treads a fine balance between capturing the vivid images and thinking with a cool mind about the problems young people face while growing up.

Apart from local Taiwanese films, there is a section called Asian Young Power, featuring nine feature-length films from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Iran and Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan film August Sun is a rarely seen well-made film about Sri Lanka. It's a three-part film bathed in glorious light.

The first is about a soldier looking for release from the routine of the army by going to a brothel, only to find his younger sister there. In the second, a child runs away from home because of the war and looks for his dog. In the third, a young housewife looks for her husband. She finds a journalist to help, but falls in love with him.

At Five in the Afternoon is an award-winning film from Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf. It's about a young girl from Afghanistan whose goal is to become president of Afghanistan, after the end of the Taliban regime. Her father only allows her to go to one of the religious schools, while she tries everything she can to attend an ordinary school. For her and female director Makhmalbaf, the school is a place for brave women to practice democracy.

Performance notes:

What: Tailly High -- New Talents, Young Cinema

When: Aug. 27 to Oct. 10

Where: SPOT -- Taipei Film House, 18, Zhongshan N Rd, Sec 2 (台北市中山北二段18)

Tickets: NT$150, available at SPOT or CKS

ticketing outlets, www.artsticket.com.tw

For more program information, go to www.spot.org.tw