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The 19th Busan International Film Festival opened Thursday with Taiwanese war drama Paradise in Service, and director Doze Niu hopes his film, set amid Taiwan’s 1960s-1970s military conflict with Mainland China, will help shed light on the two sides’ relationship today.
“Taiwan broke off from China in 1949 and many problems that emerged at the time have yet to be solved,” said the Taiwanese director, whose previous film Love was a box-office success in Taiwan and China, earning a total $33 million.
“There have been conflicts between indigenous Taiwanese and immigrants from China that continue to this day, and many politicians use this for their campaign. But Taiwan and China are like inseparable brothers sharing a bloodline, and I hope my film could help the two sides look back at the past and inspire mutual understanding and communication,” he added.
“We chose Paradise in Service as this year’s opening film because of its historical relevance and in hopes of inspiring dialog and communication [regarding issues that are relevant] for Asia today,” Lee Yong-kwan, the director of the South Korean film festival, said about the film.
Paradise traces a young soldier’s efforts to protect the women prostituting themselves in the oppressive military camp. This is the second time a Taiwanese film is opening BIFF since Hou Hsioa-Hsien‘s Three Times in 2005. Hou executive-produced Paradise.
“It is an honor that my film has been invited to open BIFF,” said Niu. “I think Korean audiences could relate to the film since both Korea and Chinese territories have painful historical experiences [during World War II].”
Meanwhile BIFF opens through Oct. 11 featuring 312 films from 79 countries.
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