《生活在天堂》導演 Ekrem Heydo
Seeing the World from Taoyuan
Among the selected films in the 2017 Taoyuan Film Festival, there are three documentary entries that tackle the subject of family history, race, and nationality from a personal perspective.
Ekrem Heydo’s documentary film My Paradise (2016) is based on the story of the director's former classmates pictured in a class photograph taken 25 years ago. During the post-screening Q&A session, the German director of Syrian-Kurdish descent said that he resided in Germany for more than 20 years and returned to his hometown Serekani on the Syrian-Turkish border for the first time in 2013 to visit his former classmates of different ethnic backgrounds who had been living side-by-side in harmony until the war broke out. When asked if there is any possible solution to the Syria crisis, the director believed that first a cease fire agreement should come into effect with the help of the foreign super powers that should both give pressure to the parties they support while cutting off any weapon supply. What he could do as a filmmaker is to show audiences across the globe the reality of the people who live there.
Director Avo Kaprealian’s Houses without Doors (2016) is also included in this year’s selection. Shot from the balcony of his family’s apartment in Aleppo, a historical city where thousands of Armenian refugees took shelter about a hundred years ago, the Armenian-Syrian director documented the daily life on the streets with his camera. The director felt regretful that he couldn’t make it to the festival in person due to complications with his travel documents. As he wrote to the festival, he wished that “one day in the future we can all meet in a world without borders.”
Closer to home is the film Absent without Leave (2016) co-directed by LAU Kek-Huat from Malaysia and CHEN Jing-Lian from Taiwan. Beginning with a portrait of a mysterious man who turns out to be director LAU’s grandfather, the film reveals the history of the Malaysian Communists of which many including the director’s grandfather joined the party not for political reasons but for personal survival during the pre-independence era. The director said that, in the making of the film, his family, especially his father finally came to understand better his grandfather who had no choice but to abandon the family for reasons beyond his controls.