Review of ‘Scars on Memory’ a documentary by Mickey Chen 陳俊志的《無偶之家,往事之城》 影評

f48a5bc55fab76e0d4d353a35bd60654The Chinese title of this documentary translates literally to “A home without a spouse, the city of the past.”  It is directed by Mickey Chen (陳俊志), who wrote quite a good biographical book Taipei Dad, New York Mom (《台北爸爸紐約媽媽》) a few years ago. I’m halfway through it, but I would recommend what I’ve read so far – as it is a touching account of a gay man’s life without being trite or shmaltzy. Continue reading

‘You Are the Apple of My Eye’ Review《那些年,我們一起追的女孩》 – What it’s like to be a dull person in Taiwan…

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The nicest thing one can say about this film is that it gives an idea of what it was like growing up as a straight boy in Taiwan for the generation born in the 1980s, or at least an idealized “idol drama” version of it – but I think that this is done in a more interesting way in Eternal Summer (《盛夏光年》), which incorporates a gay story line and has more complex character development beyond the Taiwanese “everyman” represented in this film  and even Winds of September (《九降風》). Based on a short story by Giddens Ko, a Taiwanese blogger-cum-novelist, You Are the Apple of My Eye is an extended idol drama, a dreary recounting of the author’s high school and university years. The humor in the film incorporates several wank jokes reminiscent of American Pie, but in this film these just came off as weird as the film tries to be an idol drama and The Inbetweeners at the same time, so the protagonist is a compromise between the typical  Taiwanese drama male lead and an inbetweeners-style comically unself-aware weirdo and the balance didn’t quite work here, as he just came off as cocky.  Continue reading