Taiwanese director Chung Mong-hong's (???) feature film, "The Falls" (??), has been selected as Taiwan's entry in the Best International Feature Film category at the 94th Academy Awards, the third time one of Chung's films has been chosen and the second year in a row.
Upon being informed of the selection, Chung, 55, with a filmography of six directorial works, said, "Thank you. We will keep working hard."
The film was selected from among 11 candidates by a panel convened by the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development under the Ministry of Culture, which praised the film for its accurate and deep portrayal of reality.
"Both visual metaphors and human relations are depicted vividly," the ministry said.
"The Falls" is the third film directed by Chung to be picked to represent Taiwan at the Oscars. The previous two were "The Soul" (2013) and "A Sun" (2019). The latter was critically acclaimed and shortlisted for the 2021 Oscars though it was ultimately not nominated.
Set during the early days of the pandemic, "The Falls" follows 17-year-old Xiao Jing, who is sent home to quarantine after a classmate tests positive for COVID-19, and her mother, Pin-Wen, who is asked to take a leave of absence. The two are isolated in their apartment, which is wrapped in blue construction tarp due to renovation, and their relationship takes an unexpected turn.
"The Falls" premiered at the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival followed by an appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival. It received 11 nominations at the 58th Golden Horse Awards, including Best Feature Film and two Best Leading Actress slots for its female duo.
Speaking with Variety about the film, Chung said, "To me, this film is not about the pandemic, or the virus. The pandemic is only a backdrop. I wanted to make a film about the search for something that we have long lost or forgotten, like trust or tolerance. Those really good, precious things in life that have gone missing."
It is also the first time Chung has told a story from a female perspective. "The casting of the two female leads was a big gamble," the director told Variety.
"Although the pandemic has pulled us apart, people need to think about how to get closer," Chung said, adding that he hopes the film generates discussion about inter-personal relations, according to local media.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel