Chen Yi-wen began his profession as an actor, repeatedly cooperating with the late Edward Yang, earlier than he determined to change into a director himself. He continued along with his two capacities till 2006, with the movie “Tripping” being the final he directed up to now. As an actor, he has repeatedly cooperated with Chung Mong-hong, netting the Greatest Main Actor Award for “A Solar” within the 56th Golden Horse Awards. 5 movies he starred in have been launched in 2021, together with “The Falls”, “Growing Echo” and “Depart Me Alone”
On the event of the latter screening at Osaka Asian Movie Pageant, we converse with him about his profession and the way in which the trade has modified by means of the years, his collaborations with Edward Yang, Chung Mong-hong and Fan Yang-chung, streaming platforms and plenty of different matters.
Depart Me Alone screened at Osaka Asian Film Festival
You have got been within the film trade for the reason that 90s. That are essentially the most important modifications you’ve got witnessed?
At the moment, through the 90s, filmmakers like us have been extra targeted on the thought or our philosophy once we thought of a film or once we needed to make a movie. Additionally, we would have liked to be extra avenue sensible to get what we needed, and the crew was a lot smaller on the time. Now, the principle focus of filmmakers is market success, and there are plenty of guidelines concerning the manufacturing and the crew. In fact, for the trade, that’s good however it’s a little bit completely different for filmmakers.
How have you ever modified by means of the years?
As a filmmaker, I feel I observe the present. Nonetheless, when I’ve a brand new thought, I examine whether it is becoming my philosophy or addresses a social problem. I don’t take into consideration the market success of the film, it’s laborious for me.
How does your mentality differ, between being a filmmaker and an actor?
Being an actor means you’re following the unique thought of the director or producer, so I concentrate on the function, the person within the story and I attempt to interpret him. I gained’t actually concentrate on philosophy or market success. The creation facet is totally completely different, in my view.
How come you haven’t directed any films just lately?
I gained’t say I cannot be a director sooner or later, I’m nonetheless writing some script play. Nonetheless, previously I needed to be the director, however now I need to be the principle character of what I write and discover another person to direct. Generally, a producer will counsel that I direct and in addition be the actor, however I should not have that sort of braveness (laughter) . I haven’t executed something like that but, possibly sooner or later. I nonetheless have two concepts I need to direct myself, however I haven’t executed that but.
Are you able to inform me a bit about The Nice Buddha+ and your cooperation with Chung Mong-hong?
Chung Mong-hong is nice, a wiser director than me I feel (laughter) I first cooperated with him in “Godspeed”, the place I had three scenes. After that, he preferred me and I additionally preferred his movie so when he produced the Nice Buddha+, he invited me for one thing related, three or 4 scenes. Chung Mong-hong is the producer and in addition the DOP for that movie, however there may be not a lot distinction than when he’s directing, simply the director is completely different. I really like that movie, I really feel superior being in that movie. And the group is nice, in case you are a filmmaker in Taiwan you possibly can really feel the group is nice, and you are feeling like an amazing movie is already there, since that group is concerned. That’s my expertise and my feeling about Chung Mong-hong’s manufacturing group
What’s your opinion about Huang Hsin-yao?
I feel Huang Hsin-yao is exclusive, particularly for a neighborhood individual in Taiwan as a result of he can get the irony between folks and he has a really distinctive humorousness.
How was your collaboration with the late Edward Yang?
I can let you know that I nonetheless consider him quite a bit regardless that he handed away so a few years in the past. He’s a mentor to me, he invited me to the world of filmmaking. He was my instructor and my boss earlier than he was my director and he was additionally my buddy. I acquired quite a bit from him, particularly the construction of the way to form your creation, in script writing, directing or performing and even another artistic work. He was a critical man, most individuals didn’t like him after they met him, as a result of he was very critical when speaking about filmmaking. In case you assume filmmaking is an important factor in your life, it’s important to pay all of your consideration there, all of your focus ought to be positioned there, and that’s what I acquired from him. For instance, he has talked about earlier than that when you make a movie that isn’t good, folks can chortle at you or blame you even 50 years later, as a result of the movie will keep there, and folks can see it.
These days, plenty of the movies you starred in are streaming on Netflix. How do you’re feeling about that and the entire idea of streaming platforms?
Relating to the potential for selling content material, it’s a good factor, as a result of when you make a movie and it’ll solely present in theaters for some weeks, let’s say, there are nonetheless some alternatives to indicate on streaming platforms later, and that’s good for the promotion of the film. The frustration, nonetheless, is that whenever you make a movie for the theater, you think about folks will see the movie in that setting and all the choices concerning the particulars are for the massive display screen. When I’m performing, or the director units the temper or the artwork director is contemplating the main points in a body, it’s for the massive display screen. When the movie is displaying on streaming platforms although, we don’t know the place folks will watch it, it might be on their cellphone or a house cinema or on the pc. I feel the temper will likely be completely different and that’s the most tough half for the director. It’s like seeing a portray of Picasso or Dali within the e book, it isn’t the identical factor.
In 2021, 5 movies that you simply starred in have been launched. How did you handle?
(laughter) I’m fortunate. As I bear in mind, three of them have been shot in 2019 and two in 2020, they simply screened in the identical 12 months. For me, that was plenty of promotion however it was at all times completely different, because it was about 5 completely different movies. I’m fortunate they belief me.
Why do you assume they belief you?
(laughter) Possibly as a result of there are few middle-aged actors in Taiwan. Possibly most actors my age focus extra on their households, their kids or another enterprise.
Do you discover it tough getting out of 1 function and into one other?
It’s okay for me. For instance, if I understand how to trip a horse, I understand how to get on a horse and the way to get down from a horse. It’s the similar with performing, so I don’t discover it tough to vary into completely different characters. Nonetheless, I had some experiences after a number of years, since most of my roles are of sad people (laughter). This led to my temper altering in direction of being sad, a bit not less than. So after ending taking pictures, I attempt to change my temper by hanging out with buddies or going to dwell concert events and even velocity strolling or studying or meditating. Mainly, I’m switching to utilizing one other a part of my mind to overlook that sad temper.
So, would you say that your roles have an effect on your precise life, change you as an individual?
No, usually I’m joyful. I noticed that in all of the screenplays about such characters in Taiwanese cinema, center aged individuals are outdated and conventional so I at all times interpret that sort of roles. Most of my buddies are like that, I do know plenty of such folks, however I’m not like that.
Are you able to inform me a bit about your cooperation with Fan Yang-chung in “Depart Me Alone”?
He’s superb! I really know him since he was 15-16 years outdated and he labored for a drama group. I used to be pleased with him when he acquired a Golden Bell award for one among his TV films and by chance, he needed me to visitor act in his first characteristic movie, “Depart me Alone”. Past that, I really feel that he’s a sort of a mild director and he’ll focus quite a bit on the characters of the roles. As a result of some administrators at all times concentrate on digicam or different facets however he focuses quite a bit on his completely different characters. After that, I cooperated once more with him, we simply completed one other new work and he’s superb.
He advised me that he took some members of the crew on a tour into hostess golf equipment. Had been you among the many group? (laughter)
(laughter) I used to be not so fortunate, like among the younger actors within the film. I simply went there to sing some songs, karaoke.
How would you describe your character within the film?
He’s not a strong individual, however when he was positioned throughout the authorities system, he managed to do one thing for himself. He’s grasping, egocentric and he needs to get more cash for himself. I feel that even people who find themselves not highly effective could be grasping, the function is this type of character, he’s only a regular individual.
Do you want him although, would you be buddies with him in actual life?
(laughter) In actual life, he wouldn’t be my shut buddy. If I had the chance to vary his thoughts or give him good recommendation, I might try this although.
How was your cooperation with Fandy Fan?
He was very younger once we shot the movie, he’s now extra skilled I feel. I bear in mind once we have been taking pictures the film, he advised me that he’s a part of the youthful era and doesn’t have a lot expertise with filmmaking. I used to be struck by his innocence and he got here throughout as a really pure particular person, and this was his appeal. He performs a personality that’s residing on the perimeters of society however due to this type of sense of purity and innocence that he has, the character turns into very likable as an individual, anyway. I preferred working with him, I might undoubtedly prefer to work with him once more.
In such circumstances, whenever you work with youthful actors, do you end up performing like a mentor, giving recommendation for instance?
I don’t take into consideration this. Possibly the producer, the director, or the younger actors will assume like that about me. Nonetheless, I don’t have that sort of focus to do this, as a result of I’ve to place all my concentrate on my function. Then again, If I put all my focus to my roles, that would make them being good, main by instance let’s say. However I don’t educate them or inform them how to do that or that.
How about when working with younger administrators, as within the case of “Depart me Alone” do you give recommendation or ask to make modifications?
I’ll give some recommendation relating to my function generally. I’ll attempt to perceive their ideas and emotions about my function and I’ll attempt to lead my creation in direction of them. I’ll ask, “is that okay, is that good, is that what you need?”. In that sort of state of affairs, I’ll give some recommendation, however I cannot give recommendation about directing.
Possibly that’s the reason you get so many roles (laughter)
(laughter) If I gave an excessive amount of recommendation they might not rent me (laughter) Thanks for telling me that (laughter)
What’s your opinion concerning the Taiwanese film trade for the time being?
I feel it’s a nice alternative for the Taiwanese filmmakers to consider as a result of because of streaming platforms, increasingly folks can watch our content material. So , we are able to do extra when it comes to content material and total creativity. Then again, I hope folks in Taiwan, not solely filmmakers, take extra discover of the trade. Everybody says that tradition and artwork are essential however I hope folks really act on this to make it essential not simply because somebody acquired an award in some competition and folks determined at that second that filmmaking is essential. I feel everybody ought to begin interested by doing one thing new creatively, even in music or portray, any sort of artwork. Additionally, academics mustn’t choose their college students after they do one thing new, they might be geniuses and we must always not cease that sort of ingenuity, simply due to cash points. I feel filmmakers have to indicate that to others.
Are you engaged on something new for the time being?
I simply completed a screenplay for the theater. It’s really Greek, Plato’s “Apology of Socrates”. I simply completed the primary draft, which I tailored in a Taiwanese setting. I hope to behave on stage and I hope it occurs this or the following 12 months. I nonetheless have a sort of a narrative for a film screenplay and I’ll current it to numerous administrators to see in the event that they like this story. And there are additionally some components in films I’m contemplating.
Was there ever a job that you’d have preferred to play?
(laughter) That’s tough to reply. I preferred many of the characters I performed. Sooner or later, although, if I’ve the possibility to interpret wiser folks or excessive folks, people who find themselves actually evil or actually good and even very humorous folks, I might undoubtedly take the possibility. That’s the reason generally I’m writing myself in scripts as a result of possibly I’ll have the possibility to play such a personality.