On the fifth of May, “Taiwan Film Festival Berlin”has grandly taken place in Kino Central, a famous artistic cinema in Berlin. Representative Prof. Dr. Shieh, Jhy-Wey of the Taipei Representative Office in the Federal Republic of Germany (Taipeh Vertretung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) kindly spared time to participate in the event. Spanning ten years to finish, the opening film “Father“ records Taiwanese traditional glove puppetry crafts and cultural transmission, with the interwoven father-son relationship. Apart from director Yang Li-Chou, the glove puppetry maestro Chen Hsi-Huang also attended the after-screening sharing. When he walked onstage, the audience was struck with surprise and excitement.
At the after-screening sharing venue, director Yang brought about the motivation to shoot this documentary. It was master Chen’s show he came across more than ten years ago, he recalled, that amazed him overwhelmingly and that prompted him to do something to keep this excellent and professional art craft from dissipating. But he never expected that the shooting process would take him ten years. Yang also pointed out that traditional puppetry emphasized on the intricate and vivid movements. This is unlike the modern flashy puppetry that focuses more on the special effects. Thus, as states in the film, this traditional craft deserves public’s more attention. “Please take one more look”, it might be the one last time.
At the age of 89 years old, master Chen still insists on visiting countries himself to promote the treasure puppetry. This perseverance moves all the audience. He mentioned, as passing down puppetry was his main mission, he would wholeheartedly teach anyone who’s willing to learn, regardless of their identities and origins. Chen revealed that there might be an online learning platform provided in the future for people around the globe.
This film festival is presented by NGO “Impression Taiwan”, with three main curators Ching Ying Wang, Ting Wei Yu, and Wan-Chen Lin spent more than half an year to organise. “Impression Taiwan”gathers the support from the Taiwanese studying or working in Berlin to mobilize the whole event. The festival activates 30 cross-national volunteers, Taipei Representation Office in the Federal Republic of Germany and 182 sponsors’ generosity via the crowdfunding platform FlyingV together to make this film festival come true.
Puppetry was part of her wonderful childhood memories, the curator Wang said. The very reason she took on the responsibility of the curator was to watch and share “Father” with more people here in Berlin. She also feels it’s a pity that there are hardly Taiwanese cultural activities happening in Berlin where many other events of various cultures take place all the time. As her German and other foreign friends are all curious about Taiwan, then why not introduce them with the much intuitive approach, say films? With a good start, “Impression Taiwan” hopes this film festival can take roots in Berlin and is looking forward to follow-ups.
Every Sundays from now on until June 16th, “Taiwan Film Festival Berlin”will continue to present five other films, including“KANO,““Lokah Laqi,“ “Alifu, The Prince/ss,““Black Bear Forest“ and “The Great Buddha+” at Kino Central.