The Bubble

Lemon Tree

The 10th Taipei Film Festival

By Dionysus Translated by Sho Huang

More than 200 international films are included in The 10th Taipei Film Festival, which runs from June 20th to July 6th this year. The festival will introduce three internationally renowned stars in this industry, pay homage to a number of movies stars who passed away last year, feature German short films from Interfilm and the JSFS school in Jerusalem, and of course help expand Taiwan's film horizons with excellent pieces from around the globe. A series of programs, such as an International Outstanding Young Director, Alternative Genre Directors, and Chinese Director Contests are also in the plans.

This year's theme cities are Jerusalem and Dublin. As everyone knows, three of the most popular world religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, originated from Jerusalem, thousands of years ago. Since then, the area has been a fierce war zone; constant conflicts between cultures and religions have kept the "Holy Land" divided and violent. Usually, this is all we hear about this area. However, in this festival, audiences will be fortunate to see a different side of Jerusalem.

In this year's festival, several films feature love stories. One film, Strangers, takes on the Jewish-Muslim divide through a star-crossed couple who met after mixing up their backpacks on a train. Another film, The Bubble, challenges sex and gender taboos by exploring the relationship between three Palestinian gay men and an Israeli straight woman. They share their life stories despite their differences.

The other theme city, Dublin, like Jerusalem, has suffered from ongoing conflicts triggered by different attitudes toward religion and independence that resembles Taiwan's political situation. However, the great number of pubs and musicians has made the city a great place to visit. Once, which won the Best Song category at this year's Oscars, tells an Irish love story. Garage, which won C.I.C.A.E. at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, portrays a great friendship that blooms between teenager and a middle-age man a gas station.

Most of you are probably not that familiar with the PIA Film Festival, which is actually the most influential film festival in Japan. For the past 30 years, it has produced a great number of successful international Japanese directors. During the Taipei festival, directors who have won awards from PIA will be showing their winning films as well as their new ones. Films directed by various directors about innocent love, sex-obsessed teenagers, twisted love triangles, and family relationships will be on display in these films. To find out more about the festival, please visit, http://www.taipeiff.tw.