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Honey Pupu ("Xiaoshi dakan")

Quebec Premiere
  • Taiwan
  • 2011
  • 102 mins
  • 35mm
  • Mandarin
  • English (subtitles)
WINNER: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Taipei Film Awards 2011

“A deliriously wild mix of Web-based youth culture, fantasia and memory… one of the few recent films that grasps the Internet as a way of viewing the world” – Robert Koehler, VARIETY

Within the heart of HONEY PUPU echoes the voice of a new generation. It runs deeper than what you can see on-screen. Sure, there are websites, headphones and mobile phones dictating the world of its characters, but there are more profound and important differences with traditional filmmaking, which builds up a concept to illustrate the message or intentions of a writer or director — one single access point and one voice teaching us. HONEY PUPU is nothing like that. It is an experience much richer and impressive than any traditional film could ever produce.

In Taiwanese director Chen Hung-I’s second feature film, everything is a mash-up, a dreamy, poetic and refreshingly modern collage of ideas and views, some personal, some found elsewhere. Truth and meaning are found in this intricate web of information instead of one single statement. The central theme, around which several stories are wrapped and explored, is “missing”. The stories are tied together by a website on which missing people can be reported and traced, but all of that is just a hook for more impressions and takes on what it means to miss or disappear. From boyfriends that left without a word of warning to lost bee populations, from nostalgia to lack of logic, it all flows in and out of view.

Chen’s box of tricks is rich and beautiful, supplying each segment with the proper atmosphere and leaving behind a truly stunning visual impression. His background in directing music videos clearly shows in the way he handles the music. The acting is pure and natural, while still keeping a very young and modern edge. Lin Po-Sheng is the biggest discovery but the rest of the cast is not far behind. Impressive performances throughout that effectively lift the film to even higher grounds. Watching HONEY PUPU is a unique experience that will hopefully develop into a full-fletched branch of cinema. And while it can’t claim absolute originality (Xiao Jiang’s 2008 movie PK.COM.CN precedes it stylistically), it’s still the most beautiful, unique and skillfully executed film yet seen in its genre.

— Niels Matthijs