SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: At a special screening of writer, director and producer
Ang Lee’s award-winning masterpiece, Life of Pi, on 12 April at Cinema Nouveau
Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria, the Taipei Liaison Office honoured the Taiwanese-born
filmmaker for his contribution to international cinema.
The event was attended by dignitaries from, among others, the American, Canadian,
German, Russian and Turkish embassies in South Africa and high-ranking former and
current officers of the South African Air Force.
Lee won, among numerous awards, the Oscar for Best Director for Life of Pi this year.
The movie chronicles the epic journey of a young man who survives a tragedy at sea
and embarks on a voyage of adventure and discovery, while forming an unexpected
bond with another survivor: a beautiful but dangerous Bengal tiger named Richard
In a five-minute video specially compiled for the screening, Lee paid homage to
Taiwan, his home country and the location in which most of the movie was filmed. He
also spoke of the challenges of filming with children, animals and “lots of water’, and
mentioned the rewards of making this 3D epic, which he compared to the journey of
life and the discovery of believing in hope and finding God against all odds.
The humble filmmaker then thanked the talented team who transformed Yann Martel’s
extraordinary book, published in 2001, into a work of cinematic art.
Representative Michael Pei-yung Hsu said during his opening speech, “Ninety percent
of the film was shot on site in Taiwan and we welcome you all to this beautiful
country of ours.”
Before the movie commenced, Alexander Chou, Information Officer at the Taipei
Liaison Office, congratulated Lee and referred to him as Taiwan’s “first son’ and a
Report by Martie Bester