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小野與吳念真,攝於中影公司 Hsiao Yeh and We Nien-jen, taken in CMPC

台灣電影新浪潮的開始

文:柯一正

一個新氣象的形成是滙流許多契機統合而成,台灣新電影也是。

1980年前後,許多細微的暗流開始啟動。台灣電影金穗奬辦了四、五屆,讓電影學系學生和熱愛電影人士有機會發表作品,被挖掘進而加入電影工作。至今已近40屆,李安、蔡明亮、魏德聖、曾壯祥、周美玲,林書宇等都是得金穗奬而被賞識延攬。小野及吳念真進入台灣最大的中影公司企劃部,他們極具叛逆而且有開發性,有計劃地提拔新導演,不惜和上級對抗也要維護編導的創意。幸好當時中影的總經理明驥先生是軍人出身,不懂電影但耿直不屈全力支持屬下走創新的路。張艾嘉找了台灣電視公司的製作人陳君天和導演宋存壽製作「十一個女人」系列電視電影,以十一位女作家的短篇小說再配合十一位導演,網羅電影的技術班底,期待讓千篇一律的電視劇有新的詮釋方式。而當時導演都不計較酬勞微薄,仍然全力以赴,但也因為製作認真而超出許多預算,全部由張艾嘉和陳君天掏私囊貼補。楊德昌和我就是其中兩位由此作品被小野、吳念真找去拍《光陰的故事》(1982)。

1979年台美斷交後,外省族群不再期望存錢回鄉,資金轉投入房地產和股市,帶動經濟,國民生活改善,以往人民精神寄託的三廳式夢幻愛情電影開始示微,市場上期待新的電影類型。又逢中影公司幾部超大製作的宣傳片如《大湖英烈》(1980)、《辛亥雙十》(1981)相繼票房失利,小野、吳念真趁勢以低成本製作風險較小説服公司啓用新導演。以四段式短片集《光陰的故事》打頭陣,一下了招攬了楊德昌、張毅、陶德辰和我以中影為創作基地。後來兩年又推出兩部三段式電影《兒子的大玩偶》(1983)及《阿福的禮物》(1984),前者由侯孝賢、萬仁、曾壯祥執導;後者導演是羅維明、麥大杰、李啓華。接着又拍了《陰間響馬吹鼓吹》(1988)培養了何平、李道明。隨後又從金穗獎看到蘊藏能量的李安作品,聯絡遠在美國的他回台洽談拍片事宜,只是他當時有工作而沒趕上這一波。台灣在當時就這樣積極、有計劃的培育了一批新生代導演。再加上優良劇本和電影輔導金的獎金及輔助金越來越高,是當時拮据的電影環境很大的助力。

 

一個新浪潮是一群同世代創作者的作品集合,有時會共同創作。

像徐克、梁普智年輕時香港那一群電影創作者時常互相支援,台灣新電影的導演們顯得更加密切,光看楊德昌《海灘的一天》(1983)裏的公司同事和侯孝賢《悲情城市》(1989)裏的文人雅士就是這群才剛展露頭角的導演、編劇、文學工作者的客串演出。當然是為了省預算,更重要的是互相熟識好溝通,而且氣質也對。最感動的是當一個導演劇本完成時,只要打個電話,就會有一打的編劇、導演來一起看劇本,給意見。有的導演沒時間參加討論,回去後會寫下所有的意見及想法寄回來,這一切只要請喝杯咖啡就行了。大家打心底會希望你片子拍成而且有好的成績。我記得萬仁要拍《油蔴菜籽》(1984)前,侯孝賢、吳念真和我們一堆人談到餐廳打烊,我們再轉戰兩家開得更晚的餐廳聊到半夜,一直講故事,一直丟情節,就是希望劇本更好。那時候我們的創造力非常旺盛,為了寫劇本我搬到楊德昌濟南路家中三個月,楊導是個隨時需要有朋友可以聊故事的創作者。楊導把他家裏題着「電影革命大本營,英雄創業小成本」的白板從中間直畫一條線,左邊給我,右邊歸他,我們一想到有興趣的題材就開始聊,然後在自己的那邊寫上片名。三個月內我這邊完成了一個劇本和兩個故事大綱。劇本是《帶劍的小孩》(1983),後來拍成電影。兩個大綱也寫成電視劇本拍了。而楊導的那邊寫了十八個片名,每個故事都很精彩,最後他完成的是《海灘的一天》,其他十七個故事就從白板上擦掉,重新開始。其實他最想拍的是其中一部片名叫《高材生》講一件智慧犯罪的殺人事件,但這中間他跑了一趟美國,在那裏看了一部懸疑片叫《Body heat》(按:港譯《焚身》,1982年上映),就決定把《高材生》放棄了。他的想法是:「人家的故事太厲害了,我暫時不拍這類題材」。我們劇本拍成後到電影院才發現他的有些想法在我的影片中,而我的生活情節出現在他的電影裏,只是經過了轉化。

其實説台灣電影新浪潮是從楊德昌開始的也不為過。楊導《光陰的故事》四分一段落細膩的影像敍事就被提名最佳導演,到《海灘的一天》回敍中再回敍的複雜結構,再加上《恐怖份子》(1986)的虛實交錯的確讓人驚艶,刺激了我們這一代的新導演們:電影可以有更廣的路!侯孝賢更義氣的把自己的住屋抵押,讓楊德昌完成《青梅竹馬》(1985),台灣電影新浪潮是靠這樣的友誼磨擦出火花的。

 

 

The Beginning of Taiwan New Wave Cinema

Written by Ko I-cheng, translated by Choi Yi Ling

A movement often starts by chance, so does Taiwan New Wave Cinema.

Around 1980, a ring of ripples is spreading out. In the first four or five years, Golden Harvest Awards offered a platform for Cinema Studies students and movie lovers to screen their works, get noticed and set foot in the film industry. Forty years until now, many directors including Ang Lee, Tsai Ming-liang, Wei Te-sheng, Tseng Chuang-hsiang, Zero Chao, Tom Shu-yu Lin and more are discovered because of this Awards. Hsiao Yeh and Wu Nien-jen joined the Central Motion Pictures Corporation (CMPC), which is the largest film company in Taiwan. They were so rebellious and explorative that they strategically promoted new directors and defended the creativity of screenwriters, even against their superiors' will. Fortunately, they met Ming Ji, a former soldier and the General Manager of CMPC. He insisted on branching out and fully supported Hsiao Yeh and Wu, despite unfamiliar with cinema. Sylvia Chang produced the television film series Eleven Woman with Chen Chun-tien and Sung Chuen-sau, a producer of the Taiwan Television and a director. It is a series of short stories written by eleven female authors and directed by eleven directors, hoping to bring freshness to the standardised television programmes with the aid of movie crew. The pay was little, but they still did their best. Serious production led to over budget, Chang and Chen covered the difference by themselves. It was because of this production, Edward Yang and I were invited later by Hsiao Yeh and Wu to film In Our Times (1982).

After the relations broke between Taiwan and America in 1979, Mainlanders in Taiwan gave up the idea of saving money for going back to the Mainland. The money was then invested in the real estate and stock market in Taiwan, resulting in economic growth and the increase of living standard. Taiwanese slowly turned their back on romance movies, which used to be their spiritual sustenance, and wanted something new. Meanwhile, the box office of some expensive propaganda films produced by CMPC, such as A Man of Mortality (1980) and The Battle for the Republic of China (1981), flopped. Hsiao Yeh and Wu took this chance and convinced CMPC to adopt low-cost and low-risk productions by new directors. In Our Time, a compilation of four short films, was the first production in this situation. Edward Yang, Jim Tao, Chang Yi and I were recruited and based on the CMPC. Two years later, CMPC produced two other three-part movies, The Sandwich Man (1983) and The Gift of A Fu (1984). The former is directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wan Jen and Tseng Chuang-hsiang; and the latter by Law Waiming, Peter Mak Tai-kit and Li Qihua. CMPC also supported directors He Ping and Lee Daw-ming's The Digger/The Suona Player (1988). From the Golden Harvest Awards, Hsiao Yeh and Wu noticed Ang Lee's potential and contacted him for production issues. However, he had jobs in the States and therefore did not join this new wave in Taiwan. Taiwan, at that time, actively cultivated a new generation of directors. The tight-budget film industry was driven by exceptional screenplays, and the more and more subsidies and grants.

 

A New Wave is a group of works by a whole generation, sometimes is a co-creation.

Hong Kong film creators, like Tsui Hark and Leong Po-chih, supported each other when they were young. Taiwan New Wave Cinema director group was even closer. For instance, Edward Yang's crew of That Day, on the Beach (1983) or of Hou Hsiao-hsien's A City of Sadness (1989), they were all new directors, screenwriters and literature administrators. Cutting cost would be one of the reasons, also because they communicated well and had the right temperament. The most touching part was that whenever a screenplay was done, a dozen of screenwriters and directors would read and comment on it just by one phone call. For those who were not available, they would write down their thoughts and post them back. All these cost nothing more than a cup of coffee. Everyone meant well and hoped for the best. I remember the time before Wan Jen started filming Ah Fei (1984), Hou, Wu and our group discussed until the restaurant was about to close. Then, we went to two other restaurants that still open and talked until midnight - all we wanted was to improve the play. Our creativity was at the peak. I even moved to Yang's place at Jinan Road for three months for the sake of the screenplay. Yang is the kind of creator who needs a friend to talk to him constantly. He had a board writing 'cinema revolution camp, start up at little cost' on top. He used the right side on the board and I took the left side, we talked about any topics that came across our mind and wrote titles down. In three months, I finished a screenplay and two synopses. That particular screenplay was Kidnapped (1983), and it was later produced as a film; the other two synopses were made into television programmes. On Yang's side, he had eighteen titles on, and everyone was remarkable. At last, it was the That Day, on the Beach he completed. He then wiped the other seventeen titles clean and started all over again. In fact, Top Student was the one he wanted to finish the most, which was about an intelligent crime and a killing incident. During a trip to the States, he saw a suspense movie Body Heat (1982), and then he gave up Top Student: 'their story is way too incredible, I am going to put this topic on hold.' Not until our films made it to the cinema, I found some of his thoughts on my movies and some of my real life events appear in his films.

One can say the Taiwan New Wave Cinema begins with Edward Yang. Yang inspired and excited the younger generations by nominated for the best director based on his one-fourth contribution in In Our Time. He inspired directors in our generation by the structural complexity of flashback within flashback in That Day, on the Beach and the mixing of reality and fiction in Terrorizers (1986) - there are so much more possibilities for cinema. Hou even mortgaged his house to help Yang to film Taipei Story (1985). Taiwan New Wave Cinema was brought by friendship like this.