Movie review: The Most Distant Course

movie poster for The Most Distant CourseThe Most Distant Course (最遙遠的距離) is a new Taiwanese film directed by Lin Jing-jie (林靖傑). The film received an honorable mention in the Taipei Film Festival's New Talent Competition. It also won the International Critics' Week Award at the Venice Film Festival. It is Lin's debut as a director. He also directed the no-budget documentary Street Survivor (嘜相害), which I reviewed earlier.

This film is perhaps the most anticipated Taiwanese film of the year. The Taipei Times had an editorial detailing some of the difficulties that Lin faced making the film.

Earlier this month, Lin's movie The Most Distant Course (最遙遠的距離) won high acclaim and the International Critics' Week Award at the Venice Film Festival.

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Lin, however, is in debt to the tune of NT$5 million after finishing the film. He was not even able to receive the International Critics' Week Award in person because he had no money to get to the awards ceremony.

It must be difficult for aspiring Taiwanese film makers to get a start. I think Taiwanese cinema has enough talent to go places, but it lacks direction. I think tales of tortured relationships and lost love are too common a theme in Taiwanese cinema. Directors need to break out of this mold with new and original themes and methods of story telling. Film makers need to try and appeal to new audiences and not condition Taiwanese people to thinking that all Taiwanese films are just variations on a theme.

The Most Distant Course tells the stories of three people dealing with relationship breakups. Most of the film is shot in Taidong County. The backdrop is beautiful, something far removed from the urban world of Taipei from which the main characters are all escaping. 

A-tsai is a psychiatrist who can solve his patient's problems, but not his own. Xiao Yun is seeking to escape from a relationship which leaves her feeling unloved. Tang is a sound recorder who captures the "Sounds of Formosa" in an attempt to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend.  

Although the three characters are connected in some way through the film, they find that they must find the solution to their troubles in themselves.  

Overall this film was enjoyable to watch and I would certainly recommend it. It had some great comic moments to balance with its more serious themes. I also found the idea of recording the "Sounds of Formosa" quite fascinating. However, as I noted above, it is based on an all to familiar theme. 

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