TOUCH OF THE LIGHT
1:00 p.m. Bijou Art Cinemas
Rong-ji Chang’s Touch of The Light offers a partially fictionalized depiction of the rise of its star and subject, Yu-Siang Huang, a precocious blind pianist. Spurred by encouragement from his supportive mother, Huang journeys from his small Taiwanese village to the nation’s capital after he is offered placement in the selective Taipei School of Music. The young prodigy navigates an unfamiliar world while surmounting the ridicule of his peers. A blossoming romance between Huang and a young dancer most certainly helps the young pianist adapt to his new world.
Director Rong-ji Chang directs an electric young cast that brings a wonderfully idiosyncratic energy to Touch of the Light. However, the most striking aspect of the film is the score provided by Huang. His play perfectly accompanies the film’s emotional fluctuations, adding a layer of visceral depth uncommon to this type of work. Touch of the Light is significantly bolstered by what Variety’s Richard Kuipers call Huang’s “immensely likable and inspiring” performance. The film was extremely well received by Taiwanese audiences and would be honored as the country’s official submission to the 2012 Oscars. Chang’s direction ensures that Touch of the Light remains lighthearted and thoroughly entertaining. But there is no doubt that Huang is the film’s true conductor.
2:00 p.m. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Free
The wildlife-inspired art of media and performance artists Vanessa Renwick and Deke Weaver will be discussed by the artists, joined by environmental studies scholar Ted Toadvine (head of UO Philosophy department) and artist Carla Bengtson (UO Department of Art). Renwick’s video installations Hunting Requires Optimism and Medusa Smack are on display April 25–June 29 in the Schnitzer Museum. Her three-screen film and live music performance Hope and Prey, featuring powerful footage of wolves in the wild, will be presented the night before this panel, preceded by Deke Weaver’s multimedia performance Wolf. The artists will present additional examples of their work and discuss with Toadvine and Bengtson the artistic and environmental concerns that inform their creative efforts.
Featuring a Skype dialogue with director Maite Alberdi
4:00 p.m. Bijou Art Cinemas
The Lifeguard chronicles the tenure of a peculiar lifeguard with an unfortunate aversion to water. Despite this limitation, the tanned, dreadlocked Mauricio performs his duties with an admirable resolve that seems out of place on the Chilean coast. He may look like a chilled-out surfer dude, but he is anything but. He stringently enforces every rule of the beach, but when someone needs saving, all he can do is watch. Mauricio is not popular with the young male teens who like to test his authority, nor with his rival, Jean Pierre, whose every infraction Mauricio reports.
Director Maite Alberdi is part of a lively community of young, independent Chilean documentary filmmakers, many of whom are women. Early on she developed a distinct style as filmmaker, portraying intimate worlds in an unobtrusive manner. Her short fictional film ‘Las Peluqueras’ (The Hairdressers) (2007) was awarded on TVE with the Casa de America prize for the best Latin American short film. In The Lifeguard, she provides no commentary or fanciful editing in illustrating the life of Maurcio. Her film is composed entirely of elegantly radiant cinematography and subtle cuts that reveal the complicated social system on the Chilean beach. Alberdi allows viewers to decipher the relationships and consider, if they wish, larger allegorical implications of the lifeguards’ displays of authority and masculinity.
With tasty treats from Taiwan!
6:45 p.m. Bijou Art Cinemas
German filmmaker Monika Treut renders the coastal Asian state of Taiwan a scintillating culinary oasis in her third directorial effort set on the island. The Raw and The Cooked artfully documents the pervasive passion for cuisine on the island of 22 million. In the island’s capital, Taipei, we visit a traditional Taiwanese restaurant, a legendary dim-sum palace, and one of the city’s lively night markets. Next, we encounter the hearty cuisine of the Hakka, Taiwan’s largest ethnic community; we’re introduced to the pure and delicious seafood specialties of the Ami indigenous tribe; and we get a glimpse of the Buddhist influences on Taiwanese cuisine. Finally, we are invited to a banquet by one of the island’s most creative chefs. Combining traditional cuisine and best organic ingredients, he weaves a culinary magic to create spectacular and novel dishes.
At first seemingly just a glowing testament to the nation’s passion, the film delves deeper into the social issues surrounding food production. Director Monika Treut had previously made provocative films on issues of gender, feminism and sexuality. It is no wonder, then, that there is substantive sustenance mixed in with the light deliciousness of Raw and The Cooked, and viewers will come away with greater knowledge about ethnic and environmental tensions in Taiwan. We witness, for example, the efforts of Taiwan’s young environmental movement to resist the rapid pace of urbanisation, which is destroying much of the island’s beautiful countryside. Your mind will be provoked, but the film’s radiantly beautiful visuals and jaw-droppingly delectable dishes will ravish your other senses.
Cosponsored with the Taiwanese Association of Eugene, who will provide tasty Taiwanese treats for an inevitably hungry crowd.