Two German sisters, one a director and the other a scriptwriter, sponsored a free screening of their latest prize-winning film at a temple in Taipei yesterday evening to express their gratitude for the film’s box office success in Taiwan.
Young avant-garde filmmakers Yasemin and Nesrin Samdereli screened their work, Almanya — Welcome to Germany, at Chingshan Temple (青山宮) in Taipei City’s Wanhua District (萬華) at 6:30pm, according to their agent in Taiwan.
In November last year, the Samderelis visited Taipei to promote their film at the Golden Horse Film Festival, Taiwan’s equivalent of the Oscars. The film is about a large Turkish family making its first journey back to Turkey after having immigrated to Germany 40 years previously.
During their visit to Taipei, the Samderelis prayed at Chingshan -Temple and told General Chang (張滾), the Taoist temple’s primary deity, that his blessing would be returned if the film grossed more than NT$1 million (US$33,000) in Taipei.
As of January, Almanya — Welcome to Germany had earned more than NT$1.5 million in ticket sales in Taipei, the agent said.
It is a common practice in Taiwan to sponsor temple festivities as a display of gratitude for the blessing of a deity.
Following its success in Taipei, the film will be screened across Taiwan, the agent said.
The film — described by a movie critic both as a heart-warming, -nostalgia--tinged crowd-pleaser and a tear-jerker — has won numerous prizes, including the prestigious German Film Prize for best screenplay.
It is the most commercially successful Turkish German film ever, attracting more than 1.4 million moviegoers in Germany alone.