Cities of Dublin and Jerusalem will feature along with productions from local directors
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Taipei Film Festival will officially kick off tonight, with Jerusalem-born director, Eran Riklis' "Lemon Tree" and Taiwanese director, Wei Te-shen's "Cape No.7". The festival dedicates itself to fostering and promoting the creations of both local, and international young filmmakers.
TFF features works from two cities across the globe each year. Jerusalem and Ireland's capital Dublin were chosen this year, providing moviegoers a with great chance to explore the complexity and uniqueness of the two cities.
Riklis, participating at yesterday's press conference held in Taipei to promote for TFF, said he was very excited to be in Taiwan and very honored to have his "Lemon Tree" opening the festival. "My 'Lemon Tree' is about the complexity of the situation between Israel and Palestine. But I really tried to make the film about people, rather than focusing on the history of the two countries. I always think if you show respect to your friends, or even to your enemy, then we have some optimism in the world," said Riklis, adding that the whole situation in the Middle East is all really just like lemons, because lemons are sour, bitter, and sweet, and you just cannot have a big bite out of them.
Riklis has been active in the movie world since 1975, and his 2004 film, "The Syrian Bride" achieved worldwide acclaim.
"Lemon Tree," a story of a Palestinian woman who inherits a lemon grove that borders on the land of the Israeli defense minister, won the Audience Award for best film in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in February.
Local, big-budget movie
Another opening film, "Cape No.7," is Wei's first feature-length film and is set in Hengchun in southern Taiwan. It runs in parallel layers about the rise of a super rock band, and a love letter that was written 60 years ago and was still having difficulty being delivered six decades later.
The film has a strong cast including local pop stars Fan Yi-chen and Liang Wen-yin, the famous Japanese singer, Kouseke Atari, and Japanese actress Tanaka Chie. With a production cost of NT$50 million, "Cape No.7" is also a big budget movie, something rarely-seen in the local film industry.
Festival curator Jane H.C. Yu said, during a telephone interview with the Taiwan News conducted earlier this month, that despite the fact that the festival does not attract international buyers, many international curators come to the festival to participate and select films because of the festival's dedication to introducing films made by new talented directors.
Yu said the 10 international directors contending in the "New Talent Competition" this year, will come to Taiwan and share their experience on how to raise money to shoot films in such a sluggish worldwide economy.
"Cape No.7" and "What on Earth Have I Done Wrong" are the only two local films competing with 10 other international films in the category. French director Delphine Kreuter's "57000km Between Us," Dutch director Tamar Van Der Dop's "Blind," and "Tricks," made by Polish director Andrzej Jakimowski are among the 12 films competing for the "New Talent Competition"'s NT$1 million top prize.
Dublin and Jerusalem
When asked why the festival featured Jerusalem and Dublin this year, Yu said the simplest motivation for her to chose Jerusalem was that it was the 60th year since Israel was established.
"But I do not want to show movies that are all about the conflicts and the history of the country. Despite the bombs flying over the skies in Israel and in Palestine, the people of the two countries are actually engaged in frequent exchanges; their lives are entangled," said Yu.
As for Dublin, the curator said Ireland has very often been compared with the political situation of Taiwan, and she wants the audience to see the similarities and differences between the two countries. She added that the reason that many films were chosen to be shown in the TFF is more about their aesthetic achievement.
The film festival will start today, and run until July 6 at three venues, the Taipei Zhongshan Hall, Shih Kong Cineplex in Ximentin, and Taipei County Arts Center. More information is available at http://www.taipeiff.tw/
Turn to page 24 for highlights of this weekend's films.
Written by Hermia Lin / culture.tw