With his complexly plotted feature-film debut, shot entirely in widescreen black and white, Taiwanese director Fu Shan-Fong has created an often hilarious satire of filmmaking in Taiwan and a parody of cinema cliches resulting from the attempts of a group of hot young advertising executives to make a major motion picture (Shan-Fong himself began in advertising and since 1988 has made around 300 television commercials). Each of the would-be filmmakers tends to make commercials that pay tribute to their favorite movie directors (who range from Ingmar Bergman to John Woo), and all are eager to realize their dream of making an art film. At first, the group faces so many obstacles the director kills himself in despair. Shortly thereafter they find a backer who unfortunately insists they make a Hollywood-style action thriller about Mafia arms smugglers called "Striking Back." Scenes from the investor's dream movie periodically appear throughout the story, and Shan-Fong uses them to parody Asian cinema's tendency to imitate and elaborate upon Western movie conventions. This lively piece competed in the 1998 Vancouver Film Festival.
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