What One Films Is the Reflection of Oneself
From this year onwards, the TIDF will curate a retrospective strand called "Taiwan Spectrum" every year. In each edition, we choose a different angle from which we look into the Taiwanese documentary. This year, we come up with a theme, "When Camera Comes in Between", focusing on the chemistry between the protagonists and the filmmakers during the shooting. Below are extracts from what the directors talked about their works.
WU Yao-tung on Swimming on the Highway
I always planned the interviews carefully beforehand, but I didn't expect that he could never be predicted; he always went beyond my imagination and never met my target. As a result, my confidence began to crumble... I simply couldn't win! When I came back, I complained it to my mentor. I felt so frustrated and I was in such agony. And then probably because of the pressure of the deadline approaching, an idea suddenly occurred to me. All my anger and what happened before turned into words. All of a sudden, I became the third party, watching the struggle between the protagonist and me, the filmmaker.
YANG Li-chou on I Love (080)
The reason why I film them is because I want to be someone like them, or because I can never do things they do. Cheng is my student as well as someone whom I admire very much. I pick up the camera and walk into his world. To a certain degree, I look up to my protagonist because the freedom he enjoys is something lacked in my DNAs, something I could get only through my protagonists.
HUANG Hsin-yao on Dogs with Man
It's truly a curse. Ever since the moment I picked up the camera, this film has been haunting me. I've been sleeping very badly and lost my appetite. It makes me feel that I have to do it again and complete it since I have so many questions in my mind, "Why do I make documentaries?", "What should a documentary be like?", and "Should a documentary be real or what?" It's just a way people describe documentary, but I think the world of documentary should be more open therefore I have serious doubts about the reality portrayed in documentary.
HSIAO Mei-ling on Somewhere over the Clouds
I'm an artist as well as a mother; these two roles are strongly contradictory to each other, but I insist on playing them both. It has been five years, and I began to ask, "As a mother, can I keep being anartist as bravely as I've always been?" Somewhere over the Clouds makes me reflect upon the relationship between the filmmaker and the people he films. Will I have the right to screen this film afterwards? If I can't show it, should I continue filming? I can't edit it because once I've edited it it'll give me the power over my protagonists. So, in fact, I've been filming, but I don't dare to face it.
SHEN Ko-shang on A Rolling Stone
For me, the camera is a tool for writing; I try to smooth the paper and keep writing until I finish. However, when more and more conflicts happen before my eyes, the camera becomes something aggressive. But somehow you feel that the aggressiveness is justified, and I feel I don't really care if it's ethical. Once I have developed some emotional attachment to my two protagonists, the role of the camera keeps changing. It's a very complicated situation in which you have to control your emotions while trying to get the materials you need. During the editing, you find that it is the ultimate power given to the author, and I personally think it's a very selfish thing.