This year’s Taiwan Film Days was held at the New People Theater in San Francisco’s Japantown from October 12 to 14. The movies included classic Taiwanese feature films such as A Brighter Summer Day and six new blockbusters. Directors and special guests included Peng Kai-li, the widow of Edward Yang who directed A Brighter Summer Day, Fung Kai who directed Din Tao, and Tsao Jui-yuan, the director of Joyful Reunion. Each stayed to answer questions after their respective film.
During the Q&A session after Joyful Reunion, an audience member expressed her thanks to the organizers for bringing so many good Taiwanese films each year to the Bay Area so that she could better understand Taiwan.
This is the fourth Taiwan Film Days sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) in conjunction with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco. With the exception of A Brighter Summer Day, SFFS selected the six films from a semi-final pool of 30 newly-released Taiwanese films.
Fung Kai, director of Din Tao, the opening movie in the film festival, told the audience, “I shot TV programs for more than 20 years and could produce any TV drama with my eyes closed. This is the first time I have tried to make a movie. I feel blessed to win Taiwan’s box office champion this year.” He pointed out, “Din Tao is about the culture of Taiwan’s most grassroots temple fairs, but can still win the appreciation of an American audience in the Bay Area. Vivid story telling is the most important aspect in a movie. It goes beyond the barriers of cultural differences,” he said.
The Chinese title of Joyful Reunion is the same as Ang Lee’s famous Eat Drink Men Women (1994). Tsao Jui-yuan said he had no intention of competing with Lee, but wanted to tell the story of another generation via Joyful Reunion. Tsao pointed out that Lee’s movie is about gourmet food, relationships between man, woman, their families, while “simplicity” is the main theme running through Tsao’s film about vegetarianism, ecology, and the conceptual communication of love.
Peng Kai-li talked about her deceased husband Edward Yang, who directed A Brighter Summer Day, saying that Yang was a computer engineer before switching to a career in film. Yang’s directing skills were deeply influenced by his engineering background, telling a story in a neat and systematic way. Peng also mentioned that the main character in A Brighter Summer Day was drawn from Yang’s own high school experience.
Other films screened at the 4th Taiwan Film Days included Jump! Ashin, Days We Stared at the Sun, Ye Zai and Blowfish.
Posted in Local News
Tagged A Brighter Summer Day, Din Tao, Edward Yang, Fung Kai, Joyful Reunion, Peng Kai-li, Taiwan Film Days 2012, Tsao Jui-yuan