YIDFF 2005 New Asian Currents
The Spirit of 8
An Interview with Li Chia-hua (Director)

Everything Begins from Yourself

Q: What are your thoughts on showing personal things about yourself to others?

LC: Originally I wasn’t intending to do public screenings of this work. I screened it within the school, and a teacher who saw the work said he was extremely moved. He’d had a similar experience, and he said that the film prompted him to confront his own past. I realized that you can share your own personal experiences with others, and felt like it would be worthwhile to show the work.

Q: Previously, what kinds of works were you making?

LC: I did fencing throughout university, and at that time a famous fencing coach came from Korea, and I shot a documentary about his life in Taiwan. In the process of shooting that first work, I noticed my tendency to shrink back when I confronted a significant problem and wasn’t sure how to proceed. I asked a professor at the university for advice, and he told me first to face myself.

Q: I think the photographic-style fixed shots of the landscape give a rhythm that deepens the impact of the work, but to what extent had you thought through the structure in advance?

LC: I didn’t work through the structure in advance. For the editing too I basically relied on my intuition. I think this work can be broken into two parts. The first half is about my thoughts regarding the event, and the second half is how I respond and resolve it. For the first part, I wanted to make it as if the audience was sitting right before my eyes, like a friend listening to my story. Through that approach, I was thinking that I could have the audience enter into my own problem, and then I could have them join the process of resolving the problem together. But, I didn’t clearly maintain that awareness through the editing stage. The biggest thing was that I followed my intuition.

Q: What are your thoughts on documentary film?

LC: At school we’re taught that documentaries are creative treatment of actual events. For me personally, there isn’t significant meaning to the borderline dividing documentary and narrative film. The creation process is different, but it’s not like the two can’t be fused. I’m interesting in making films that don’t belong to either camp. So, I make all kinds of works. If you aren’t emotionally moved yourself, there’s no way that you can move other people. The most important thing is to make something that you find to be moving, and all of the arts use the self as a motif. I think that is really wonderful. Also, documentaries are about filming the truth of other people’s lives. So, I think you have to understand the bewilderment of being filmed. This time, one of my aims was to understand the feelings of the filmed subject, through putting myself in that position. This is my second work, but this is a true departure point, so is like my debut film.

(Compiled by Ishii Rei)

Interviewers: Ishii Rei, Sato Hiroaki / Interpreter: Akiyama Tamako
Photography: Sato Akari / Video: Ichikawa Yusuke / 2005-10-11