2020 Kaohsiung Film Festival announces opening and closing films of its 20th edition
The 2020 Kaohsiung Film Festival opens with “Be Alive Just Like You” and closes with “Visitors”. Directed by Lai Meng-jie and starring Rexen Cheng and Ally Chiu, “Be Alive Just Like You” shows concern for the disadvantaged people and their sexual desire. With Derek Chang and Leon Dai as its leads, “Visitors” belongs to a new genre that challenges existing sci-fi and thriller.
It is announced that the 2020 Kaohsiung Film Festival opens with Be Alive Just Like You and closes with Visitors. Be Alive Just Like You is directed by Lai Meng-jie and stars Rexen Cheng and Ally Chiu whereas Visitors is Tsai Chia-ying’s directorial feature debut, a sci-fi thriller with Derek Chang and Leon Dai as its lead actors. The subject matters and the styles of these two films demonstrate the diversity in Taiwan cinema. As the principal cast and crew will attend the premieres, we urge the cineastes not to miss this rare opportunity to see the films and meet their creators.
Centering around the socially disadvantaged groups, opening film Be Alive Just Like You depicts the chance encounter between a disabled man (Rexen Cheng) and a quiet teenage girl (Ally Chiu); both exploited and bullied in their lives, their fates entwine with each other at the moment they meet. Mirroring the two disadvantaged families, the film daringly explores the emotions of those who are marginalized in society. Cheng and Chiu precisely convey the bitterness and suffering brewing inside both the caregivers and the care recipients through the explicit sex scenes. Be Alive Just Like You was in Young Cinema Competition at the 2020 Hong Kong International Film Festival. In addition to the brilliant performance delivered by the two leading actors, the supporting cast is equally impressive. Taipei Film Award-winning actors King Jieh-wen and Huang Tsai-yi respectively play the father looking after his son and the mother suffering from mental problems.
Director Lai Meng-jie says. ‘I’m very grateful to the Kaohsiung Film Festival for showing this film to the Taiwanese audience and I would like to thank the executive producer Tang Tsai-yang for his staunch support and the actors for their dedication. They allow me the creative freedom and very special feelings for this production.’ Rexen Cheng, who has shot several films in Kaohsiung, expresses that what makes him the happiest is that the film speaks up for the socially disadvantaged groups. He feels very fortunate that the film not only opens the KFF but participates in its 20th anniversary celebrations; moreover, he looks forward to shooting in Kaohsiung again. Ally Chiu says that it is a great honor for the film to be chosen as opening film and she is very happy to share a work that she herself loves so much with the audience. She thanks the cast and crew and hopes that we will all find the inner selves that complement ourselves after seeing the film.
In contrast to the daring social realist approach taken in the opening film, the KFF closes with Visitors, a sci-fi thriller. Adapted from the novel with the same title, Visitors is director Tsai Chia-ying’s debut feature. In the film, the protagonist, who has been estranged from his father for years, begins to repair their relationship after his father gets injured by a burglar. Nonetheless, when a neighbor reveals the unusual sights at his father’s place on that day, his life begins to disintegrate. In Visitors, Golden Horse Award-winning Leon Dai and Golden Bell Award-nominated Derek Chang respectively play father and son; together with their co-stars, including Francesca Kao, Yao Ai-ning, Hank Chen and Lin Ying-wei, and the audience, they unravel layers of mysteries. Undoubtedly, the viewers will be gripped by the complicated plot and the unexpected development.
Tsai Chia-ying, who grew up in Kaohsiung, says. ‘As someone who grew up in Kaohsiung, the fact that my first feature has its premiere in my hometown means a lot to me. I expect that Visitors would bring the audience a different thinking and idea of “home”.’ It is Derek Chang’s first appearance at the KFF and he thanks the Festival for selecting Visitors as the closing film. Chang expresses. ‘For me, Visitors prompts me to ponder over the problems of “home” in a different way. I’m very happy that the KFF has seen this film. I hope that I’ll have more time in Kaohsiung so I can look around, getting to know the city.’
The 2020 Kaohsiung Film Festival takes place from 16 October to 1 November in Kaohsiung Film Archive, MLD Cinema, Kaohsiung Main Public Library, VR FILM LAB, P3 Warehouses at the Pier2 Art Center and VR eSports Land. The instructions on Covid-19 issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center will be strictly followed in all venues. Please follow the KFF on the official website, Instagram and Facebook for the most updated information.