movie: War Game 229

(Dateline Taipei part 11)

There is this movie I missed watching in Taipei: War Game 229.

I interviewed the director, Albert JL Huang, and portions of that interview will be coming out as part of a story on the revival of Taiwan’s film industry this Friday in our magazine.

The sad truth in any film industry is that directors, if they want to see their works onscreen, have to short of beg for money from those willing to invest. Now, if you don’t have big names in your project, no one would dare to pour in moolah. But then, it’s a chicken and egg situation. How do you get the stars if you don’t have the money to pay them? Let’s face it, entertainment is a big business. They say it’s for the craft? That’s total crap. If these actors really work for their craft, then we’d be seeing better-made films and not overly commercial ones that do not give us any intangible rewards for the two hours of our lives that we just wasted.

But I digress.

If you can’t get big name stars like Jay Chou, Jerry Yan and Vivian Hsu to invest in your movie the way Wei Te-sheng did for Seediq Bale, and can’t even get small-time investors at all, then you don’t have a choice but to spend your own money.

Albert had to fork in NT$15 million (US$491,000) from his own pocket to fund War Game 229. It opened in October and at the date of our interview–a month since opening–it has earned NT$5 million (US$164,000). It’s just a third of his investment but he’s already happy that the film has earned that much and lasted that long in the cinemas.

My friends who are indie film directors have to do other jobs to survive–but that will be for another story. It’s interesting what people do in order to realize their dreams. And it’s inspiring too.

Here’s the English-subbed teaser of War Game 229:

The premise looks so interesting: tried and tested soldiers from 50 years ago and young airsoft players who haven’t even seen a real war. It’s funny but also infused with Taiwan’s history. It would have been interesting to see. I’ll just wait for the DVD then.

P.S. The lead actor is Tender Huang. Then there’s River Huang. You gotta hand it to Chinese actors for picking the most peculiar names.

Copyright © 2011. theasianpopculturist. All rights reserved.

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