The Kaohsiung Bureau of Cultural Affairs yesterday rejected reports that it was instructed by someone in the central government not to promote Taiwanese horror film Detention (返校).
The movie, set during the White Terror era and highly critical of the authoritarian government at the time, has earned more than NT$45 million (US$1.45 million) since its premiere on Friday.
While the city government provided the movie with assistance during its production — support that it gives all movies shot and produced in the municipality — city officials have been silent since the premiere, former bureau head Yin Li (尹立) said on Facebook on Saturday.
Photo courtesy of 1 Production Film
Li said that the municipality had received instructions from an official in the administration not to help promote the movie, saying: “How ironic is that — that Kaohsiung does not even have the freedom to support a movie about freedom that Kaohsiung people invested in?”
Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) yesterday said that while the Kaohsiung City Government might not like the movie because it touches on some of the mistakes that the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration made during the White Terror era, the movie is not about supporting or opposing political parties.
The movie depicts the pain that the White Terror era has left on many people and can help the younger generation understand more about Taiwan’s history, Chen said.
“That is why I find it difficult to understand why the local government’s approach to promoting local movies has changed so drastically,” he said.
Kaohsiung Film Development Center Director Yan Meng-ying (楊孟穎) said that the city government has offered a wide range of support for the movie, from investment, location scouting, filming and promotion.
“Please stop hurting us with unfounded accusations,” Yan said, urging people to support Detention.
The bureau subsidized the movie’s premiere in Kaohsiung and paid other promotional costs, it said in a statement.
The city’s bus stops have had advertisements for Detention, the government’s monthly magazine on cultural activities carried advertisements and video commercials played on the Kaohsiung metro, it said.
The bureau said it cannot understand why Yin would negate its efforts to promote Kaohsiung arts and culture, adding that it hopes political manipulation would end.
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