From Taiwan, With Love
‘Tis the season for film, from the biggest Oscar bait to the smallest film festivals. Somewhere in between falls the Taiwan Film Festival, a traveling production that stops at the UO this weekend. Produced by the Chuan Lyu Foundation, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and the Asia Society — and locally sponsored by the UO’s Center for Asian and Pacfic Studies, East Asian Languages and Literatures department, Asian Studies Program and International Resource Center — the free festival offers 13 documentary and feature films that, to borrow a line from the press material, “reflect the quality, range and vitality of contemporary Taiwanese filmmaking.” The films include Tigerwomen Grow Wings, a documentary by German filmmaker Monica Treut which follows three Taiwanese women of different generations: opera singer Hseih Yue-hsia, writer Li Ang and young filmmaker Chen Ying-rong. Shot against Taiwan’s 2004 presidential election, Treut’s documentary is gentle and fascinating, though a bit unfocused. A sense of change, of new opportunities and of Taiwan’s place on the global stage, is bubbling just under the surface as Treut’s subjects look to the future with a strong appreciation of the past. Treut will be at the festival for a Q&A following Tigerwomen‘s screening (7 pm Thursday, Oct. 18, 182 Lillis).
Other films screening include the coming of age story Eternal Summer; the documentary Shonenko, about Taiwanese child laborers during WWII; Visions of Darkness, a documentary that explores what seeing feels like (producer Sylvia Feng will appear for a Q&A); and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Three Times, probably the best-known of the festival’s selections; the film appeared on many critics’ end-of-year lists for 2006, but never showed in Eugene. (See sidebar.) The Taiwan Film Festival takes place Oct. 18-20 at the UO’s Lillis Hall and Chiles Center; for the complete schedule, see 2007tff.blogspot.com — Molly Templeton
Widely hailed by critics and generally overlooked by U.S. audiences, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Three Times is a gorgeously shot, beautifully acted meditation on how love figures into the lives of the Taiwanese at three points in time: 1911, 1966 and 2005. The first part, set in 1966, centers around a brief encounter between a woman (Shu Qi) and a soldier (Chang Chen) at a pool hall, their extended separation and the soldier’s determination to find her again. With long, relaxing takes and hard-won subtlety (it’s like watching snow melt), this is the strongest chapter of the three.
The third part, set in modern Taipei (and featuring the same actors), asks whether lust has trumped love in a world bereft of the sensual. If you enjoyed the narrative time jumping of Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046 or Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (or Paris, Je T’aime, for that matter), you’ll find Three Times accessible and engaging. Just don’t expect fireworks. Three Times screens at 6 pm Saturday, Oct. 20, in Room 182 of the UO’s Lillis Hall. — Chuck Adams
If you’re a beer fan and concerned about eating locally, you probably already know that about 30 percent of the world’s hops are grown in the Northwest; a press release from OSU’s First International Hops Symposium, held last August, notes that prime growing areas include Washington’s Yakima Valley and our own Willamette Valley. After the hops are harvested in August and September, a crop of seasonal beers made with fresh (rather than dried) hops appears — and there’s a great way for hoppy beer lovers to try some of the fresh-hopped brews in style. Every weekend this month, Oregon Bounty and the Oregon Brewers Guild have presented a Fresh Hop Beer “Tastival” somewhere in the state, and this weekend it’s at Ninkasi Brewing Company. Admission is free; $5 gets you a glass with which to taste hoptastic creations from Oregon’s best breweries (at $1 a taste). More than 20 Oregon beers will be available, including offerings from Bridgeport, Deschutes, Laurelwood and Lucky Lab. Oddly, Ninkasi doesn’t appear on the list, but they must have something for us, right? For more about the Tastivals, go to www.oregonbeer.org or www.traveloregon.com/bounty – and plan to stop by Ninkasi’s new permanent facility at 272 Van Buren between noon and 9 pm Saturday, Oct. 20 (if you’re of legal drinking age, of course). — Molly Templeton