Spotlight Entertainment’s (亮點國際影業) new release, Endangered Species (多情動物) , reunites fame Taiwanese cinematographer and French auteur for a twisted Christmas tale of three families.
Six time Golden Horse winner Mark Lee Ping-bing (李屏賓) collaborates with the French auteur Gilles Bourdos for the fourth time on their new film, Endangered Species (多情動物), which opens on December 29 in selected theaters in Taiwan.
The film is a follow-up to their 2012’s global success, Renoir (印象雷諾瓦). Mr. Lee has been the staple cinematographer for Mr. Bourdos’ productions since his 2003’s film, Inquiétudes (白色謀殺案).
In September, Endangered Species entered the official competition in the Orizzonti Selection for 74th Venice Film Festival, followed by Taiwan premiere during the 54th Golden Horse International Film Festival in November. Mr. Bourdos visited Taiwan to promote the film and met with warm responses from both critics and audience.
Endangered Species is loosely based on six short stories by the American writer Richard Bausch, all drawn from his short story collection, The Stories of Richard Bausch. Mr. Bourdos, along with his writing partner, Michel Spinosa, turned the stories into a film of three interwoven plotlines, invoking the late Robert Altman’s masterpiece, Short Cuts.
The film starts with a dazzling aerial shot that introduces us to young, beautiful, reckless newlyweds Josephine (Alice Isaaz) and Tomas (Vincent Rottiers), speeding and hooting down the highway in their “just married” pickup, trailed by billowing clouds of carmine-colored smoke. Once in their hotel’s honeymoon suite, however, Tomas lurches from pillow talk to a protracted mind game that’d presage a toxic turn in their marriage.
Then the story cuts to another intense, yet wholly unconnected conversation, conducted over the phone, between middle-aged Vincent (Eric Elmosnino) and his college student daughter Melanie (Alice de Lencquesaing). She’s pregnant by a man eighteen years senior to Vincent. Suffice it to say that Vincent can’t be too delighted as a father figure.
After these two slow-burning scenes at the outset, the film switches to a more conventional ensemble structure, introducing new characters such as Josephine’s despairing parents (played with pressing anxiety by Grégory Gadebois and Suzanne Clément), whose own marital dynamics is further complicated by the knowledge of their daughter’s predicament. Finally, in the most outlying of the film’s strands, Anthony (Damien Chapelle), a tender-hearted, lovelorn young man who struggles with the fallout of his parents’ acrimonious breakup, followed by the confinement of his mother (the unhinged Brigitte Catillon) to a psychiatric ward.
All three stories are tonally contrasting variations on a substantial theme: the growing powerlessness of parents to correct their children’s grown-up mistakes, and vice versa.
Mr. Bourdos is a longtime fan of Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), and Mr. Lee has been Hou’s cinematographer for close to thirty years. Mr. Bourdos and Mr. Lee had met in Paris in the year of 2000 and started to work together two years later. Both of them love to cook for each other and bonded over French and Taiwanese cuisines and cinemas. Despite not knowing any French, Mr. Lee appreciates Mr. Bourdos’ staunch support in his cinematographic experiments every time they collaborate.
This time in Endangered Species, Mr. Lee’s electric lensing becomes the star of the entire enterprise, awash with lush and moody colors and sweeping motions that find beauty in Nice’s highways and underexposed working-class residences.
Nice is also the hometown of Mr. Bourdos and has influence on him with its Mosaic aesthetics. In the film, he breaks up the conventional storytelling to make room for collage driven jump cuts, but never loses focus on the quintessence of humanity. Fully grasping the director’s vision, Mr. Lee shoots the film’s most downbeat sequences in dominant tones of citrus and fierce vermilion, which underscores that no life in this tangle of human stories is too insignificant to be blazingly illuminated.
To celebrate the release of Endangered Species on December 29, the film’s distributor, Spotlight Entertainment (亮點國際影業) offers some of the most striking stills and behind-the-scene footage for an exclusive exhibition in Spot Taipei (台北光點之家) from December 16 to January 5, 2018.
Additionally, Spotlight Entertainment reaches out to the American born artist Patty Hogan, who currently lives in Taipei, to design a limited edition of her Fatty Romance bookmarks for the film. The customized pack, Endangered Species X Fatty Romance collection, will only be available during the film’s theatrical release period.
Endangered Species opens on December 29, 2017 in Selected Theaters:
- Taipei: Spot Taipei (台北光點電影館) / Ambassador Chunchan (國賓長春影城) / Marvelous Ximending (西門町真善美戲院) / Nangang Century Asia (南港喜樂時代影城)
- Taoyuan: SBC (星僑國際影城)
- Taichung: Wonderful Theater (萬代福戲院)
◎Endangered Species Poster/Stills/Trailer：https://goo.gl/GiQ7q5
◎Official Youtube Trailer：https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLTODDwGUeU