44th Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival
Taiwan, November 23 - December 6 2007
The Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival is a big international and multicultural event, extremely important for the development of the film industry and the promotion of film culture in Asia. The festival program includes opening and closing films, gala presentations, and retrospectives (this time the retrospective was devoted to Li Han Hsiang, King Hu and Edward Yang, the Taiwanese director who died recently).
Also the festival includes an international digital shorts competition, special sections such as “Filmmakers in Focus” (this year: Yasmin Ahmad and Lucian Pintilie), “Romanian New Wave”, “Window to the World”, “Celluloid Legends”. It therefore gives the local public and film buffs of Taipei a unique possibility to watch festival favorites and outstanding arthouse movies from the last year produced all over the world — this year, among others, A Girl Cut in Two, The Man from London, Love Songs, The Mourning Forest, Alexandra, Fay Grim, Silent Light, The Banishment, Import/Export, 4 Month, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
For foreigners the most interesting part of the festival is, without doubt, the presentation of Asian and Chinese-speaking cinema. New films from Thailand, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia make up the program “Voices from Southeast Asia”, widening our knowledge of this regional film culture not at all limited to horrors and extreme violence.
The FIPRESCI jury, organized for the first time in Taipei, concentrated on the Golden Horse Awards Competition which is part of the festival. We did not consider works by established directors (e.g. Lust, Caution by Ang Lee, the winner in seven official nominations) but focused on young cinema from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Our award went to What on Earth Have I Done Wrong? by Niu Chen Zer (Taiwan) – an artistic reflection of the difficulties of a young moviemaker within a corrupted political and financial system.
Because of political reasons films from mainland China don’t participate in the Golden Horse Awards Competition — only in the case that they are made in a co-production with Hong Kong (or Hong Kong/Taiwan). In future — if Chinese films are included — this award has a chance of becoming of more value.
The award ceremony takes place in a big auditorium full of fans who actively support their favorite stars. It is rather glamorous: even when presenting the FIPRESCI prize, I was accompanied on stage by two beautiful women — a Singapore film star and a French model from a James Bond serial. (Andrei Plakhov)
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival: www.goldenhorse.org.tw