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Winds of Asia “The Fourth Portrait” Interview with Chung Mong-hong (Director) (10/25)

Winds of Asia “The Fourth Portrait” Interview with Chung Mong-hong (Director) (10/25)

Portrayed from the boy's point of view, The Fourth Portrait is an emotional human drama that is beautiful, scary, and yet a bit funny. We interviewed the director Chung Mong-hong, a promising artist of the Taiwan film world.
©2010 TIFF

――The Fourth Portrait is a first-run film now showing in the theatres in Taiwan starting from Oct. 22.

I'm afraid the movie probably won't be a big hit this time either. Audience in Taiwan doesn't like my work... To be honest, I wish to shoot the film that I want to make and have a commercial success as well, but things don't always seem to turn out that way.

――Well, considering many directors are being forced to take what they really don't want to, director Chung, you must be fortunate for shooting the film that he wants to make?

Not really (laugh), because unless you make a big hit, you won't be able to raise a fund for the next film. But it is also very gratifying when I could make the film just as I had imagined.

――Aside from the success in the film market, you earned a well-deserved reputation receiving a number of awards and are being invited to the film festivals overseas.

It is such a great honor to receive the awards, and besides, it is very important to participate in the international film festivals in order to make the good world sales. But my duty is to devote all my energy to making a film, and there is not much left to do after that. So I am quite cool-headed about the things that come after the making of the film.

――Talking about the film festival abroad, you have visited the Pusan International Film Festival before coming to TIFF.

Audiences in Pusan and Tokyo are completely different. Audiences in Pusan are very ardent, and everyone seems to be urgent to comment something. On the other hand, audience in Tokyo is very quiet. But once you hear them talk, you find out that they appreciate the film in every detail. I'd rather prefer the audience in Tokyo.

――Your debut film Parking (2008) was quite shocking in many ways. In particular, I couldn't help wondering why big stars like Chang Chen and Gwei Lunmei appeared in this artistic film taken by a rookie director?

Let me just correct your comment first. There is no "big star" in Taiwan at the present. You might as well describe them as "famous" actors and actresses instead. I guess they were generous enough to appear in Parking because they wanted to back up the Taiwan films, or maybe had an expectation for a new type of Taiwan film to be created. Or perhaps they just had nothing else to do (laugh).
©2010 TIFF

――As you commented at the Q&A session after screening, Nagao Nakajima, cinematographer of this film is actually you yourself. Filming of Parking was exquisite in its stylish way that reminds us of your career as a TV commercial director. Now in The Fourth Portrait, the image of the film is beautiful as ever, but sharpness seems to have concealed itself.

When shooting Parking, I had tried not to fall into the habit of making commercial films, which ended up in vain. So with that in mind, in making The Fourth Portrait, I took the utmost care in simple film making, but I don't think I am thoroughly successful in that sense. My assignment is to get rid of the habit of making commercial films.

――To get rid of it?

I think my experience in TV commercial making is an obstacle when making movies. The fact that most of the directors with TV commercial career are not making a big success in Taiwan might be the proof.

――One more thing that is essential in talking about the The Fourth Portrait is your documentary film Doctor (2006). The second painting appearing in The Fourth Portrait was drawn by a boy named Felix who commits suicide in the Doctor, and you mentioned that the painting had inspired you to finish up The Fourth Portrait.

Doctor is a documentary, but I have a special feeling for it because it is my first feature film. It is very true that the picture drawn by Felix had a great influence in making the The Fourth Portrait, but I am thinking of saying goodbye to Felix after this film. I’ve made up my mind to get over his past and go on to a completely new direction for the next film.

――That must be your new work which you start shooting next year, and in that new film, I heard that you have a plan of doing away with the element of black humor that was prominent in the previous works.

Yes, that's right. It is going to be a very scary horror film featuring schizophrenia. I do wish to take part in the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2012 with this new film.

(Interviewed by Ryoichi Sugiyama)

The Fourth Portrait
©Cream Production
Film Information

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KEIRIN.JPThe 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
22nd Tokyo International Film Festival(2009)