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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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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles