I Love (080)

TAIWAN / 1999 / Chinese / Color / Video / 58 min

Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Sound: Yang Li-zhou
Music: Wen Zi-jie
Producer: Zhu Shi-qian
Production Company, Source: Backstage Studio
No.7, Lane 142, Kuo-kuang St., Chung-ho, Taipei TAIWAN
Phone: 886-2-2952-4840
Fax: 886-2-2962-1955
E-mail: n1210020@ms17.hinet.net

Yang Li-zhou

Independent documentary filmmaker. Born in 1969. Graduated from Tainan National College of the Arts in Taiwan. Fire Brigade (1997) won the Grand Prix in the documentary section of Taiwan Golden Grain Awards, and was screened at Taiwan International Documentary Festival (1998). Highschool Yearbook (1998) won the Taipei Special Prize in the non-commercial section of Taipei Film Awards, and was screened at NAATA Film Festival in San Francisco.

A disturbing close portrait of a young man who, like all other men in Taiwan, must enlist in the army. Dreaming of saving enough money to enter an Australian art college after discharge, he is gradually crushed by the corruption, the verbal violence, and the hypocrisy that festers in the military hierarchy. The filmmaker, his former high school teacher, follows him diligently, but is confronted by the accusation that the camera forces him to live the life it expects. (080) in the title refers to the free-dial code in Taiwan - for the soldiers, a cheap way to chat with telephone operators, and also the hot-line for complainants and informers.

Director's Statement

Our President Li Teng-hui in Taiwan once said, "I am in control of everything but the military."
Confronted with criticism when unaccountable accidents and deaths in the Taiwanese military came to light, Minister of Defense Chiang boasted, "Deaths and injuries are everywhere in Taiwan. Who cares about one death in the army?"
In Taiwan, the constitution states that every man is required to serve in the army for a period of two years. But the dark and isolated world of the military has become a nightmare for all Taiwanese mothers. Though it is already more than 50 years since the Nationalist Party (KMT) retreated to Taiwan from the Mainland, it continues to uphold the system of compulsory military service. This is done in order to maintain its political power. Each year it sends two hundred thousand young lives into the hands of a system that designates "steel cup handle on the right, toothpaste on the left."
Their lives are frozen in time as two years of their youth is wasted counting down the remaining days in service, and only when the countdown reaches zero does their real life begin.
Yes, let me start the shooting, let's have a real look at what's going on in our army, in the young soldiers' hearts! As I continued filming, suddenly I remembered the grimness hidden in Minister of Defense Chiang's remark: "Deaths and injuries are everywhere in Taiwan..."
I started to shiver.
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COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee