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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Wim Wenders shops for stinky tofu

Stinky tofu is the subject of the day in Taipei as Wim Wenders drops in to mentor and collaborate with a young Taiwanese director. “Taipei, he observed, has grown from “a sleepy city” to become “an amazing, buzzing and big city,” writes Nancy T. Lu in Taiwan News. Among her diverse observations from Wenders’ first visit in 30 years: “I may have to come back a few times more to get used to stinky tofu,” said the smiling Wenders yesterday. One of the first things Wenders did was to go to the Shihda Night Market with young Taiwan-born director Arvin Chen two nights ago [Pictured.] Wenders has accepted the invitation to be the executive producer of Chen’s “Page One Taipei.” He liked the young man’s script, he said. And so he will be his “guardian angel from Germany” in the film project to be subsidized by the Government Information Office by as much as NT$12 million and to be also supported by the Taipei City Government.2350779.jpg “I have watched Wim Wenders’ films from childhood and I have seen how he portrays cities and people,” said Chen, who grew up in northern California. “I feel very lucky to have him as my executive producer.” Chen’s “MEI” won the Silver Bear for short film at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival. Wenders said that a Silver Bear from the Berlin International Film Festival is something he has in common with Chen. They also share a love for movies that are portraits of cities, he said. Wenders thought that it was a good idea to have someone not exactly from here but more of a foreigner to do a film about Taipei. This person would have a different perspective, he said. Checking out the locations for the movie Chen is preparing to shoot next year as well as meeting the cast and crew have been on Wenders’ agenda during this Taipei visit. But he will not be around during the actual filming… Mayor Hau offered Wenders and Chen some pineapple cakes yesterday. He also presented the German cinema director with a nice but empty gift box to take back to Berlin. Wenders quickly scribbled “Taipei Memories” on it… Wenders used three words to sum up the movies he made in his career, indicating the films dwelled on “love, search and identity.” The award-winning Wenders gave a remark yesterday, indicating he did not follow the commercial trend to make sex scenes de rigueur in film productions. “I always thought sex didn’t belong in a movie,” said director Wim Wenders. “You never do it with the camera.” Lu differs in her closing note: “Young people, who keep sophisticated digital information systems in their bedrooms, think otherwise though.”

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch