The Taiwanese cinema industry has introduced gifted film directors to the world’s history of cinematography. The extraordinary talent has attracted a large number of fans and researchers. However, Taiwan has encountered many challenges in its development, including immigration that distorted the cinema industry. The diversity in Taiwan should be turned into a strength rather than weakness. In this regard, the filmmakers decided to portray the eclectic society in two film series which could make the desired change in perception. The film series consist of brief shorts created by the top filmmakers and directors from Europe, America, Asia, and Taiwan. The film series What Time Is It There? Taiwan as the Crossroads and What Time Is It There? Taiwanese Film Biennial exhibit a rich intercultural heritage of Taiwan and create the unity in the fragmented cinema industry. The idea presented in both film series is that the different cultures in Taiwan create a rich intercultural heritage.
The films depict Taiwan as a culturally diverse country where Chinese, Austronesian, American, and Southeast Asian traditions have been coexisting. The mix of cultures has led to the diverse artistic innovations in literature, theatre, dance, music, and cinema (Chiu 13). The films aim at proving the idea that Taiwan has managed to benefit from the variety of cultures and to become a unique place. The films refer to Taiwan as a nation that created a dynamic hub within a global cultural network. They celebrate the diversity of Taiwanese filmmaking.
Assumptions of the idea
The diversity of Taiwanese cinema leads to two assumptions. First, it is evident that the eclectic population of Taiwan has a huge interest in cinema as a major entertainment option. The second assumption is that the diverse population of Taiwan led to a fragmented cinema industry. Every segment of cinema industry focuses on promoting its films by being an opposition to the films of a different culture. The division and fragmentation create the need to express the diversity of Taiwan as strength
What Time Is It There? Taiwan as the Crossroads and What Time Is It There? Taiwanese Film Biennial respond to the division that prevailed in the course of Taiwan’s history. The nation experienced massive migration waves and colonization which brought together people of different cultures. The film series address the social problems and tensions of Taiwanese filmmakers that have existed since the 1980s. The Taiwanese cinema had a group of admirers because the film directors demonstrated reality in an original way. However, their portrayal of life was not recognized well by American and European audiences. While the spectators in Taiwan appreciated the innovative and revolutionary sense in the depiction of reality, the foreign audience did not understand the message. In fact, the previous Taiwanese films also did not correlate with reality. As a result, they failed to reach the international success. Therefore, the Chinese, European, and American audiences considered that the Taiwanese cinema was communicating a message that was not relevant to them. Due to the misunderstanding, a need to create a forum that could harmonize various audiences appeared.
The film series aimed at explaining the vision of life by featuring dramas, new classic comedies, historical epics, and art films. In response to the division caused throughout the Taiwanese history, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale narrates the story of the aboriginal tribes who fought against the Japanese occupation (“What Time Is It There? Taiwan as Crossroads Film Festival”). The stories vividly capture the struggles of Taiwan throughout its history. The films offer a powerful image of the nation. They act as a hub through which art, social change, people, and technology undergo a creative transformation. Moreover, they also depict the dynamics of the Taiwanese cinematic output.
What Time Is It There? Taiwan as the Crossroads and What Time Is It There? Taiwanese Film Biennial focus on the uniqueness of the Taiwanese talent. The two series consist of many wonderful films that encompass drama, comedy, and art genres. One of the filmmakers is Ang Lee who addresses the contemporary issues that make the story of Taiwan great (Team 1). He focuses on the conflicts which occur due to the confrontation between past and present. In his films, Ang Lee manages to convey clearly the experience of his nation so that the global community can understand the transformations in Taiwan.
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The films in the series derived from the past events which have a direct connection with modern times. For example, in Le Moulin, the director Huang Ya-Li tells the story of the first modern art group of Taiwan called Le Moulin Poetry Society (“What Time Is It There? Taiwan as Crossroads Film Festival”). The group protested the cultural superiority of colonial powers. Its members composed a poetry using a sophisticated style to create a change in the traditions. The modern aspect of poetry attracts the audience that might not understand the aboriginal images of the Taiwanese cinema. In fact, European and American audiences enjoy participating in the Taiwanese art because it allows to perceive different aspects of life in Taiwan.
The film series were introduced on the discussion panel devoted to Taiwan in the Global Cinema Marketplace. The discussion centered on the prevailing perception that the Taiwanese cinema mainly attracts the local audience. It happened in the Billy Wilder Theatre bringing together film producers, directors, curators, and critics (“What Time Is It There? Taiwan as Crossroads Film Festival”). The panel fostered a multi-dimensional dialogue to explore and to forecast the future of Taiwanese cinema in the global market. The main ideas were aimed to understand the current trends and to create and nurture national talent.
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Significance to Los Angeles
The idea of showcasing the rich intercultural heritage of Taiwan in Los Angeles is significant. The promotion of the diverse culture enriches the cinema industry. Most of the fans watch films on television and online, leading to the decline of Taiwanese cinema. The idea would increase the practice of watching films in the theatre setting. The development of the theatres in Los Angeles would increase internal tourism and stimulate the expansion of the city. The different film styles that the viewers are exposed to help them to reconnect to the current events of the country.
Los Angeles is the main entertainment hub of America. It hosts a large number of movie theatres, local film events, and outdoor screenings. It has plenty of seating theatres, such as Cinefamily, Beverly Cinema, and Nuart Theatre. The expansion of Taiwanese cinema could create additional business opportunities and introduce new theatre destinations. Moreover, Los Angeles is the world’s heartland of the entertainment industry. The expansion of the Taiwanese cinema would lead to the partnerships and collaboration that would enhance the cultural life of the city and Taiwan.
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Introduction of Taiwanese cinema industry in the elaborate film series is an effective tool to transform the traditional forms into modern tendencies. However, it can also lead to a genre crisis. Because of the uniformity of the modern day themes, the filmmakers may produce films that address the same matter. Thus, there would be no differentiation between the films. Consequently, the films would lose their entertainment feature.
The transformation of film production to reflect the current trends indicates that the films might have a short lifecycle. The economic and political situations can define the plot of the films. The modernization of the cinema content can lead to the loss of interest among the audience that wants to explore the ancient culture. The international film fans may head to Taiwanese film theatres to experience the original culture of Taiwan (Chiu 14). If all the films focused on the present day themes, they would be boring. They would not attract an international audience. Thus, one of the main weakness could be an intention to remain modern. In order to gain real success, the films should also be based on the stories that formed the history of certain nations.
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Curating the film series
The curator of the two film series found the films that are socially, artistically, and culturally appropriate. He presented carefully selected series of most recent releases and blended them with complex past films to exhibit diverse cultural heritage. Supervision of the film series was based on keeping a dialogue between local and global aspects. However, another approach was to keep local and global aspects separate. The approaches to curating the two film series corresponded to the conditions of Taiwanese cinema which had been highly fragmented. Thus, the curators aimed at reducing the misunderstanding regarding the Taiwanese cinematography.
The main idea of What Time Is It There? Taiwan as the Crossroads and What Time Is It There? Taiwanese Film Biennial is to present the cultural diversity of Taiwan. The country will have more benefits if it focuses on its diversity as a source of creative film content. The film series adequately address the challenges which have been distorting Taiwanese cinema. Featuring a variety of cinema genres from diverse backgrounds creates a feeling of a strong cinema industry when each fragment of history is incorporated. Even though the idea might create repetition of themes among filmmakers, the unity of the Taiwanese cinema would yield greater benefits.
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