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May 27, 2017

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Taiwanese cinema needs to be revitalized, here's how

After more than a decade of decline and lack of interest from the audience, Taiwanese cinema finally went through a revival seven years ago through the films of local director Jay Chou's (周杰倫) "Secret" (不能說的·秘密) in 2007 and Wei Te-Sheng's (魏德聖) "Cape No. 7" (海角七號) in 2008. These movies were the push needed to spark investor interests in making feature films for the big screen rather than sticking to producing Taiwanese soap operas and Mandarin "trendy dramas" for television.

Thanks to both films, our movie industry was able to once again submit locally produced films that could compete in the annual Taiwanese film awards, the Golden Horse Awards (金馬獎), which have otherwise been hosted for the sake of films from Hong Kong and China for the entire decade prior to 2007.

Both films also served to pave the way for films such as "Monga" (艋舺) and "You Are the Apple of My Eye" (那些年,我們一起追的女孩) eventually providing Taiwan with its own iconic mafia and rom-com films.

But all the success and production opportunities aside, Taiwanese cinema is on a collision course to return to the state of idleness it was stranded in years before, as, to be frank, there's only so much progress we as Taiwanese are willing to provide to our own industry.

We, the Taiwanese people, have grown accustomed to established trends and resist change because of the fear of becoming the odd ones out. As a result, Taiwanese films, though popular in this country, are time and again restrained by the limits set upon them by genre. These genres are divided along generational lines. The parental generation prefers family films with old-fashioned grassroots actors while the younger generation tends to stick to rom-coms whose lively young actors' talents are only adequate at best.

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