Category Archives: movie

Arts Online: Tim Yip

Every name on movie posters appears for a reason. It represents a person, and also a belief from movie companies. They believe it sells, and even attracts people to pay for the experience in the next two hours in a closed dark room. Movie companies assume as long as they show these names, be it director, actor, actress, or award, audience will spend money on a film, at times, they don’t even know at all.

Before Tim Yip (葉錦添), people in the Chinese-speaking rarely see an arts director’s name on movie posters.

Before he won an Academy Award in art direction with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, most Chinese audience might now know that role exists in movies. Not that we know much more about it now, but at least we are aware there is a character called “art director” in film-making.

Now that he is famous, he is an icon, and his name appears on movie posters. Movie companies believe he sells.

But Tim Yip is more than that, as he wants to show in his own website.

On a weekend afternoon, I visited MoCA Taipei for his solo exhibition Summer Holiday. He wanted to present his diversity, so we got photographs, installations, videos, words, and costumes, almost all focus on a figure named “Lili”. Sometimes it’s a real girl wandering around Taipei. Sometimes it’s a still mannequin. Sometimes it’s an atmosphere recreated in a room.

How will people recognize him? Photographer, writer, curator, or art director? We’ll see.


Avatar a Must?

Recently during Christmas and New Year season, everyone around me seems to be in the same conspiracy. Whenever I go, whoever I meet, they are all surprised I haven’t watched the movie Avatar.

“You should watch it!” (Is that a suggestion or what?)

“Watch it in the movie theater!” (God knows when is the last time I walk into theaters?)

“I don’t mind watching again if you need someone to go with you.” (Really? Twice in a week?)

“It’s long, but you won’t fall asleep!” (Hey, where’s that assumption from?)

“The story is nothing, but special effects are cool!” (Hmmm?)

Based on the rebellion attitude, I haven’t watched it, partly also because theaters are always packed on holidays.

Seeing the trailer, though, I have to agree with my friend Lokman on one thing:


“While watching the movie, I keep thinking since when David plays Jake Sully without telling us. It’s funny.”

If you know David, my friends, you should not be surprised wherever he shows up. He’s pretty much everywhere, as far as I understand.

Film Festivals, Obsession

In Taiwan, we used to talk about a certain “film festival season”, which happens normally at the second half of the year. For moviegoers and film-lovers, it is a exciting, fulfilling, and also exhausting period. People study the handbook, look through the film list, check the schedule, and arrange their ideal list in the festival. Some festivals even hold seminars to help people with various interests decide their film list. These festivals often last for a week or ten days, and some for almost a month. You can see the flock religiously rush between different theaters.

Films festivals are crucial to local audience, especially for people who enjoy films in different genres and/or origins. You see, in the mainstream movie theaters in Taiwan, most movies are from USA (Hollywood of course), Hong Kong, Japan (animations for sure!), Korea, Thailand (with scary, scary ghost films) and Taiwan. Other than those, it’s hardly possible to appreciate film arts from “other” countries. Festivals are probably the only place now in Taiwan where films from other parts of the world or independent films are introduced. Moreover, organizers sometimes invite filmmakers and actors to Taiwan, especially thrilling to viewers and fans who like to interact with or hear what directors themselves have to say.

 Now there is no such a thing called “film festival season”. Film festivals proliferate and scatter around the year. Differentiation, therefore, becomes important to each. Various themes, communities and topics are developed with a clear focus, such as Women Make Waves Film Festival (which opens today until 10/25), and CNEX (focuses on documentary). Sometimes festivals are city-based, such as Taipei Film Festival (theme city this year: Berlin) or Kaohsiung Film Festival (theme this year: hero/antihero, stating today as well)

There are some more general festivals as well. Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival always goes with the movie award with the same title. “General” doesn’t mean it is less provocative to some people. This year, for example, more than a dozen LGBT films are included, which, of course, catches media attention.

I like to watch movies, but not crazy enough to sleep in tents for days in front of the box office for ticket sets/packages. Thanks for film festivals, though, I’ve got to fulfill my obsession to handbooks. I collect and keep them for years for future reflection. I have to say, by the way, the design is getting better and better.

How can a post about film festivals without clips? 🙂

↑ ↑ Taipei Film Festival Promo (theme city: Berlin … obviously)

↑ ↑ Kaohsiung Film Festival Promo

↑ ↑ Golden Horse Film Festival Promo