Taiwan movie industry hamstrung by deficiencies: director Ang Lee


TAIPEI — Oscar-winning director Ang Lee on Monday continued his critique of Taiwan’s movie industry, saying that its ability to compete internationally has been hampered by several deficiencies.

He said the two dozen movies produced by Taiwan each year tend to be narrow in scope with themes that are not well developed.

The films are also not structured well, and their dialogues often “lack in nutrients,” he said during a public chat with Yu Kwang-chung, a poet and English professor at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung.

He would “love to fall in love with Taiwanese movies but it’s been difficult to get excited” about them, said the Taiwanese-born director who has become the most recognizable filmmaker the country has ever produced.

By contrast, he said, jurors found it difficult not to cast their vote for “Ilo Ilo,” a small production from Singapore that was the major winner at the Golden Horse Awards ceremony on Saturday.

The movie about the relationship between a young boy and a Filipino nanny won the awards for best feature film, best new director, best original screenplay and best supporting actress (Malaysian Yeo Yann Yann).

Lee, who headed the Golden Horse jury, praised its 29-year-old director Anthony Chen for turning out a well structured movie on a limited budget.

Lee had previously described Taiwanese-made movies as “lacking in scope and strength,” but he clarified Monday that “you don’t have to shoot a historic epic to have scope,” stressing that the most important element is the development of the theme.

“You just have to manage your subject in a way so that it can touch the audience deeply,” he said. “That’s want I meant by scope.”

In his earlier comments, Lee said the biggest problem facing Taiwan’s movie industry was “a lack of long-term view, a lack of vision and it’s always a one-man show, with everyone having his little fight.”

Lee had an international film crew in Taiwan for a few months when shooting his 2012 movie “Life of Pi.” He said the exercise had an impact on the Taiwanese working in the film industry as well as on Hollywood technicians that came to work in the country.

The question is “whether any experience was accumulated,” he said.

Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said she believed Taiwan was not lacking in ideas or originality but felt problems did exist in certain parts of the industrial chain.

She cited special effects, post production and capital as the areas that need more work.