Corrado Neri has advocated for Taiwanese movies in France for many years as a film professor and author, praising their boldness, diversity and willingness to address sensitive topics.
Yet, his passion has been tempered by concerns about waning enthusiasm for Taiwanese productions in France, telling the Central News Agency in a recent interview that films from other Asian countries have greater appeal to a broader audience, leaving Taiwan behind.
Neri, an Italian who teaches Chinese history and culture at Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University and is the author of a book on contemporary Taiwanese cinema, said that he was first drawn to Taiwanese films after seeing director Tsai Ming-liang’s (蔡明亮) 1994 film Vive L’Amour.
Then a doctoral student, Neri also saw a film by director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) at the Cinematheque Francaise, a non-profit film organization, which increased his resolve to focus his research on Taiwanese productions.
“I appreciate the maturity of Taiwanese films,” Neri said, pointing to their willingness to discuss homosexuality, and other sensitive historical and cultural issues.
The ways Hou dealt with the 228 Incident and Tsai’s experimental methods helped them break the barriers imposed by government censors at the time, he said.
French audiences, especially intellectuals, have found such elements of Taiwanese films appealing, especially the historical context and settings of Taiwan’s New Wave films, which were at their peak in the 1980s and 1990s, Neri said.
The directors’ cinematic language, and focus on historical wounds and local themes, were especially alluring to a certain niche of French film lovers, he said, but added that those topics are difficult to understand for most French cinemagoers, making it hard for Taiwanese films and TV productions to consistently find new followers.
The enthusiasm that once existed is fading away, especially as other major players have emerged in the Asian film industry, Neri said.
South Korean films have attracted large numbers of French viewers who had previously not been interested in Asian movies, Neri said.
Such competiton makes marketing Taiwanese productions in France difficult, he said.
Having dedicated academics and film students promote Taiwanese films has become essential, he said, citing productions such as 2017’s The Great Buddha+ and 2020’s Classmates Minus, which are available in France on Netflix.
However, those have not been widely promoted by the streaming service or other industry players in France, he said.
It is also possible that films showcasing Taiwan’s multifaceted culture do not resonate with a broader audience, despite their boldness in approaching rich topics, Neri said.
Taiwan has yet to come up with a film or drama series with mass appeal, such as South Korea’s Squid Game or Japan’s The Naked Director, Neri said.
The key for the nation’s directors to appeal to mainstream cinemagoers in France is powerful symbolism that they can identify with, he said.
Supported by the Taiwanese Ministry of Culture, Neri is to organize the second edition of the Spotlight Taiwan Lyon 3 event at his university, he said.
The aim is to promote international cultural exchanges, and cultivate greater interest in and appreciation of Taiwanese culture in the international community, he said.
The event would highlight the representation of ghosts in Taiwanese movies and literature, Neri said, calling the topic a unique side of Taiwanese culture.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”
WASHED ASHORE: Of the 16 bodies discovered along Taiwan’s west coast this month, two were Vietnamese and five were Taiwanese, coast guard officials said Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he has instructed prosecutors and maritime authorities to launch investigations after 16 bodies were found along Taiwan’s west coast this month, amid speculation that they were victims of smuggling or human trafficking rings. Coast Guard Administration (CGA) officials said the bodies, most of which had washed ashore, were found by coast guard personnel and local residents along the coastline from Keelung to Kaohsiung. Thirteen of the bodies are male and three are female, the CGA said, adding that items found on the bodies indicate that two of the men were Vietnamese, while three men