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台灣獨立先行者黃明川
Huang Ming Chuan's Myth Trilogy


 

寶島大夢 Bodo

 

 

破輪胎 Flat Tyre

 

西部來的人

The Man from Island West 




   

致九〇年代台灣的情書 — 談黃明川的神話三部曲

 

許多人對於台灣電影的認識,來自以侯孝賢、楊德昌為核心的台灣新電影,以及1990年後續接棒的李安和蔡明亮。事實上,台灣電影獨立製片先驅黃明川被過度低估的「神話三部曲」,也有著不遜於侯孝賢的《悲情城市》與楊德昌的《牯嶺街少年殺人事件》的高度,絕對是九十年代台灣最重要的藝術創作
之一。

 

黃明川大學唸台大法律系,畢業後卻赴美學習繪畫,再因興趣使然轉攻平面攝影,並開設商業攝影工作室,卻在去國十一年後(1988年),毅然放棄美國的事業返台定居。他先是為當時的公共電視節目製播小組拍攝介紹台灣各行各業的紀錄片《百工圖》中「法醫」、「石礦工人」、「大卡車司機」等系列共四集,因記錄東部採石礦工而對多語言交雜的特殊地景環境印象深刻,心中產生依此發展成劇情長片的計劃,遂堅持擺脫政治與商業糾葛的牽制力量,以獨立製片的創作精神貼近邊緣底層人民心聲,回溯歷史、文化和土地的傷痕,在十年內總計完成了三部作品,呈現台灣解嚴前後的劇烈變化與社會景象,分別是1989年的《西部來的人》、1994年的《寶島大夢》與1999年的《破輪胎》。瘋愛電影的詩人張德本認為這三部電影「企圖締造台灣電影之原型」,遂以「神話三部曲」為名,串起彼此間歷史詮釋的埋伏與意識的深層連結。

 

神話(myth)與原型(archetype),本來即是每個說故事的人(作家、導演、以及其他藝術創作者等)藉以投射情感、盡情探索的絕佳場域。「神話三部曲」以主人翁尋求認同的成長歷程作為故事的中心主軸,分別對於台灣的原住民神話、軍事戒嚴神話和政治宗教神話做出質疑和反思。《西部來的人》是台灣影史首部獨立製片,也是首部以原住民為主體,探討台灣原住民文化認同與離散、永劫回歸的劇情長片,全片以泰雅族語為主,河洛語和華語為輔,打破了台片過往「華語霸權」迷思。《寶島大夢》不但是台灣首部切入軍事體系,深刻反省國家體制與歷史宿命的電影;更是台灣第一部揭露軍隊戒嚴黑幕與人性複雜陰暗面的魔幻寫實電影。《破輪胎》則是台灣首部從政治雕塑和宗教神像思索政治造神運動與集權文化困境的電影;同時也是難得在虛構劇情中融入紀錄片影像藉以達成創作自省的實驗性作品。

 

「神話三部曲」就像一顆未經琢磨的璞玉,不因時光流逝而黯淡,反倒益發燦爛,它們提供了迥異於「傳統」台灣新電影的廣闊空間,兼具影像美學與文化歷史意識,卻又是那麼昂然獨立。作為台灣獨立電影的先行者,黃明川以這三部曲為意識形態保守、普遍缺乏藝術開創性的電影圈投下震撼彈,它們無疑是那個獨一無二的年代最精華的縮影,猶如黃明川寫給自己、寫給始終毫無保留擔任他創作後盾的妻子、寫給那群曾經一起打拼的夥伴(如今早已開枝散葉在台灣電影圈各有成就)、以及整個九十年代台灣,最直接懇切的情書。


作者簡介:
鄭秉泓,台灣高雄人,評論電影,也教電影,
著有《台灣電影愛與死》,
部落格「關於電影,我略知一二」:

blog.chinatimes.com/davidlean/

 

The Pioneer of Taiwan Independent Film:

Huang Ming Chuan

 

While people’s understanding of Taiwanese films mostly come from Hou Hsiao Hsien and Edward Yang, who are considered as the core of Taiwanese New Cinema, as well as their successors —Ang Lee and Tsai Ming Liang, the pioneer of independent films—Huang Mingchuan and his Myth Trilogy are often overly-underestimated. In fact, not less favourable than Hou Hsiao Hsien’s A City of Sadness and Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day, his Myth Trilogy should definitely be regarded as one of the most valuable filmic creation in the 90’s Taiwan.

Having majored in Law in National Taiwan University, Huang Mingchuan went to study drawing after graduation in the United States. Out of interest, he subsequently switched to photography and even opened a commercial photography studio. Yet, he eventually decided to return to Taiwan and left behind the career there after 11years in 1988. He began with joining the Public Television Video Production to shoot four episodes for the documentary Pictures of the Hundred Works. It is mainly about introducing different job fields in Taiwan, such as the series of “Forensic Pathologist, “Quarry Miners” as well as “Truck Driver”. After deeply impressed by the multi-language speaking and special landscape environment while shooting Quarry Miners in the Eastern part of Taiwan, he was then inspired to make his long features, attempting to go beyond the reliance of authoritative and commercial power. With his independent filmmaking spirit, he was able to trace back the historical, cultural and geographical scar through getting close to the lower class and looking into what they feel and think. Ultimately within ten years, he completed three productions, namely Man From Island Wend (1989), Bodo (1999) and Flat Tyre (1999), which present the social situation and the drastic difference between Taiwan before and after the imposition of martial law. Even the poet and the film enthusiast Zhang Deben thinks that the three movies are an excellent attempt to “create the archetype of Taiwan films”. He thus grants the films a title of Myth Trilogy so as to highlight the connection between the historical interpretations and the deep consciousness underlying one of the other.

Myth and archetype are generally places for storytellers (writer, director, and other arts creator, etc) to conduct emotional projections and exploration. Featuring the protagonists’ search for recognition of their growth as the main theme, Myth Trilogy reflects and challenges the myths of Taiwanese inhabitants, military, martial law, as well as those related to politics and religion. Man From Island Wend, which is based on Taiwanese inhabitants, is the first independent film in Taiwan history that delves into their cultural recognition, separation and comeback. Its use of Atayal dialect as the main medium mixing with Hoklo dialect and Chinese simply threatens the tradition and the hegemonic power of Chinese as a medium for Taiwan films. As for Bodo, not only does it make preliminary attempt to touch upon discussion of military system while reflecting the institutional power and destiny, but it is also the first magical realism filmic creation which reveals the dark side of human being as well as the hidden story behind army during the martial law period. Last but not least, Flat Tyre is the first to ponder upon political apotheosis and dilemma of the centralization of culture from the angle of political and religious figures. That the film integrates documentary image in a fictional plot does not only make it rare but also a creation which is self-reflective and highly experimental.

 

Huang Mingchuan’s Myth Trilogy is like an unadorned jade, for its color hardly fades as time goes by. While capable of adventuring possibilities outside the traditional Taiwanese New Cinema, remaining special and independent, it is equipped with both film aesthetics and cultural historical implications. As the pioneer of Taiwan independent films, Huang Mingchuan surprises the film industry through challenging its conservative ideology and its lack of courage for artistic experimentation. The Myth Trilogy undoubtedly records the essence of that unique generation, just as a genuine love letter that Huang Mingchuan wrote to himself, his unreservedly supportive wife, his partners who once battled together (who might have become extremely successful in the Taiwan film industry), and even Taiwan in the nineties.

 

Writer’s background:

Ryan CHENG, born in Kaohsiung TAIWAN, is currently a part-time lecturer in Tunghai University and Providence University. His debut book ‘The Love and Death of Taiwan Cinema’ was published in 2010.