Taiwan Documentary: Into the Time Capsule


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Moments and times flew by in a split second. For centuries, humans, as though possessed, had tried to find ways to stop time; for a better chance to immerse himself in the occasion taking place. After all, the accumulation of personal experience had contributions in self-defining. When moments and events treasured by someone were presented in front of hundreds of foreign eyes, carrying inside it the intimate definitions, a new fragment was constructed. Nearly sacred, like magic. The cinema allowed that to happen. All the while the distance appeared between subjects and the screen, the attempt of a subject to capture another subject to put it into the screen, and the activity to watch other subjects in the screen after being captured by the unseen subject; documenter eliminated it however small.

“Taiwan Documentary” saw the long history of the Taiwanese at a glance, without ignoring complexity, by projecting the modesty of daily moments. These fragments of life became complete through the eyes of the audience; distanced, but still have their portion of proximity. The layer of contexts existed in small details. Glances would never be enough, but needed for presenting sight; like a time capsule. Within, sounds might be heard, and silhouettes might be seen. These movies called the audience to peek on what’s inside.

In the short movie collection, four movies were presented. The Mountain (1966) and Modern Poetry Exhibition/1966 (1966) are two restored movies exhibiting young Taiwanese artists’ face in the 90s. Ideas and dreams were talked in two different ways. The Mountain narrates in a rhythm: the climbing journey, critical minds spoken in every interview within intervals, also the dream-induced background music. While Modern Poetry Exhibition/1966 narrates statically: pieces of film tape roll recorded modern exhibition in the past, visionary minds were read through the stories captured by the camera, also the old projector’s reeling sound and the future that walked backwards.

Experiment 002 (Extracted from Video Documentation of the Symposium of “Theatre Quarterly”) (1994) dan The Prophet(2016) are both the attempt to present past work of creation. The former is a fragment of documentation that tried to capture the screening of Experiment 002 moment, a work by Huang Hua-cheng who as of now has gone missing. Ironically, as if confirming his missing status, the moment that tried to be presented couldn’t be found in the recording. The Prophet tries to bring another work of Huang Hua-cheng, a scenario of a couple’s dialog. In the movie, the empty stage’s red curtain and a gradually dimming spotlight at the audience’s seats where the two actors are exchanging dialogs built a contrast.

The long movie collection brought two movies, Small Talk (2016) told the story of the estranged relation between a mother and her child that lived under one roof. An awkward relation, or both were actually living the comfort zone inside their heads after all the time. Goodnight & Goodbye (2018) captured the story of Wu Yao-tung and Tom during their journey and tried to continue their unfinished conversation two decades ago. Presenting two intimate conversation moments, through years without answer and full of secrecy. Sweet but bitter, the smile and breath were ultimately welcomed with rolling credits.

All movies from “Taiwan Documentary” program will be screened on 6 December 2018 at 14.00 WIB at Societet Militair TBY, with the exception of Goodnight & Goodbye which will be screened on 7 December 2018 at 18.30 WIB at IFI-LIP Yogyakarta. Complete FFD 2018 agenda could be seen on the schedule.