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Taiwan, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Regional Focus)

Director: Cheng Wen-Tang

Cheng Wen-Tang has emerged as a shining new cinematic light in Taiwan. He has crafted a superb, idiosyncratic debut that will ensure his name is one to watch.

"Taiwan, an island too small to carry such pain. Director Cheng Wen-Tang tells the story of the natives, long hidden in shadows of Taiwan's modem history. He came to understand their oain through social activism in the 80s, and translates this into film.

"The film centres on Ahmak—a construction worker and aboriginal youth of the Paiwan tribe—and his encounter with a prostitute. Ahmak and the prostitute talk to the camera or to themselves, perhaps representing a sincere attempt to hear those deprived of a voice. Uprooted and on the road, their monologues resonate like soulful music.

"Their problems are not simply a matter of city and country, or the conflict between the traditional and the modern, but rather an incurable issue of Taiwanese identily. For Ahmak, it is impossible to have a normal conversation with city folk. His good intentions to help others are distorted, leading to a powerful conclusion."—Pusan Internationa! Film Festival

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