By Lea Liotine
I anticipated this film with the highest expectations, not only because it was a potpourri of twenty-five minute shorts by many established and emerging Taiwanese directors, including the master himself Hou Hsiao-hsien, but also because it was commissioned by the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China’s formal establishment. Reminiscent of the Cannes omnibus film of 2007, ‘Chacun soncinema ou Ce petit coup au coeur quand la lumière s’éteint et que le film commence‘, ’10+10? is a unique and unprecedented domestic opera, even as irregular as it is.
’10+10? brings to mind the emancipation from Chinese culture that Taiwanese cinema has achieved in the past thirty years. Each segment proves its belonging and authenticity. Even to a non-Taiwanese or a non-Asiatic audience, the film’s bittersweet formula works well, embodied in the internal discontinuity and inscrutability of its events. Through its ups and downs, the omnibus offers some pearls of contemporary Taiwanese cinematography, and nostalgia seems to be their common denominator.
Noteworthy for those reasons are the fragments ‘A Grocery Called Forever‘ by Wu Nien-jen, and the short ‘Unwritten Rules‘ by Cheng Yu-chieh. The first tells the story of an old lady who runs a family store like a compromise between modernity and tradition, and the latter follows a movie crew in the removal of a mighty wooden Taiwanese flag from its location, but ironically they end up finding the Chinese flag beneath it. The journey through the island continues with Shen Ko-shang‘s short ‘Bus Odyssey’, an interesting attempt at the noir genre, unlike ‘Reverberation‘, the thriller by Chung Mong-hong, which dwells on the subject of bullying. With its charm, the old-fashioned Chen Kuo-fu‘s ‘The Debut’, starring Peggy Tseng and Doris Wang, stands out among the rest.
Directors: VVAA Wang Tung, Wu Nien-jen, Wei Te-sheng, Cheng Wen-tang, Shen Ko-shang, Wang Shau-di, Chen Yu-hsun, Sylvia Chang, Kevin Chu, Chen Kuo-fu , Chang Tso-chi, Cheng Yu-chieh, Ho Wi Ding, Rendy Hou, Leon Dai, Chung Mong-hong, Gilles Yang, Hsiao Ya-chuan, Arvin Chen, Hou Hsiao-hsien.
Writers: Wang Tung (I), Wu Nien-jen (II), Wei Te-sheng (III), Cheng Wen-tang (IV), Shen Ko-shang (V), Wang Shau-di (VI), Chen Yu-hsun (VII), Sylvia Chang (VIII), Kevin Chu (IX), Chen Kuo-fu (X), Chang Tso-chi (XI), Cheng Yu-chieh (XII), Ho Wi Ding (XIII), Rendy Hou (XIV), Leon Dai (XV), Chung Mong-hong (XVI), Gilles Yang (XVII), Hsiao Ya-chuan (XVIII), Arvin Chen (XIX), Hou Hsiao-hsien (XX)
Producers: Wen Tien-hsiangProduced for the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival Executive Committee (TW).
Executive producer: Hou Hsiao-hsien.
Cinematographers: Mahua Feng (I), Wang Chun-ming (II), Liao Ching-yao (III, XII), Huang Hung-chi, Wang Yen-ni, Chiang Yi-ning (III), Chang I-feng (IV), Chien Yu-tao (V), Huang Tien-jen (VI), Sam Hu (VII), Joshua Lin (VIII), Pun Yiu-ming (IX), Jake Pollock (X, XIII), Li Chien-hung, Chang Yi-ming (XI), Kwan Pun-leung (XIV), Chang Hsiang-yu (XV), Chung Mong-hung (XVI), Chou Yi-hsien (XVII), Lin Tse-chung (VXIII), Fisher Yu (XIX), Yao Hung-i (XX)