CINEMATIC TAIWAN: THE IMMORTAL'S PLAY

LI-CHUN LAI, JIA-RU PENG

How did a star of the Vietnamese National Circus become a star in traditional Taiwanese opera? Since childhood, Annie Nguyen dreamed of being a Vietnamese drama star, so what led her to an old Taiwanese theatre company? How did she go from not knowing a word of Mandarin or Taiwanese, to making her debut as the lead role on a grand stage? Even while caring for her daughter with a long-term illness, Annie had to follow the theatre company wherever they went, in a hectic drama of life. Even when there was no audience, even when there was no applause, Annie still performed for an invisible “God” within her own mind. Within the chaos of her own life, was the dream-life drama she had to perform.

Director Li-Chun Lai and Jia-Ru Peng believe that documentaries present the realities of life and attempt to make society better through visual means. After paying attention to the issues surrounding women over the years, they’ve discovered glimpses of Taiwanese society that are rarely, if ever, discussed. Directors Lai and Peng have independently recorded and filmed Annie’s career and her time in Taiwanese opera. Their work shows people and women in a new light, discussing their roles and identity within Taiwanese society, while highlighting the anxieties that each person carries. 

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