An Interview with Lin Chi-shou (Director)
Reality Is More Interesting
Q: What are the differences between the finished work and your ideas before you started filming?
LC: I started with the idea of filming the vanishing puppet theater, but the theater people didn’t think about it as art or culture like I did. They say as long as they can eat, there aren’t any difficulties. It seems like art and culture are what people around them are imagining, the image of what the audience demands.
At first I was thinking about interviewing them about their difficulties and things like not having successors, but after actually talking with them, I realized that wasn’t the right approach. I decided to follow their work, and filmed it.
Q: What is your connection with puppet theater?
LC: There’s more old culture left in Tainan, so I often went to see it. I wanted to preserve it since it’s disappearing, and I asked them to let me film, but a lot of people said they didn’t want to be portrayed like something that is going under, and I was turned down. Then I met Chang, and was able to do the filming. Even if you want to film, it won’t come together unless you have someone who responds.
Q: What are your thoughts on documentaries?
LC: I started out seeing documentaries as a tool for being concerned with others, but then I began thinking that documentaries based on regarding other people even though you don’t understand yourself are superficial. I feel that in filming others, you objectively study yourself. I film the situation without being pushy, and I don’t try to add emotion. So, it’s fine for me if the people who see the work each have their own responses. I don’t have any particular intention to make people feel sympathy. Recently more people are making documentaries in Taiwan, and there’s a lot happening. This continues like a wave that swells and recedes repeatedly, and I’m not pessimistic.
Q: What did you pay attention to during the editing?
LC: I wanted to get as close as possible to actuality. If there had been no camera, what would these things have been like? In other words, I wanted to show people’s actions and the landscape flowing, as if there was no camera or anything, no filming going on. I was aware of it as an important expression, like how the rhythm of the wind feels powerful in the midst of the quiet. And I was aware of length and pauses. For me, watching a film is the same thing as reading a book. If one scene in a movie is akin to one phrase in a text, and if a film were a book, then I think the camera is like words. I was aware of pauses in the same way that punctuation adds rhythm when you’re reading a book.
Q: What is your next work?
LC: During this film festival I realized that women don’t appear in the films I’ve made to date, so I’m thinking of a film focusing on women for my next work.
(Compiled by Nishiya Mariko)
Interviewers: Nishiya Mariko, Kato Ema / Interpreter: Endo Nakako
Photography: Suzuki Takafumi / Video: Kusunose Kaori / 2005-10-10