The East Asia Film Festival is set to begin today. Ahead of its premiere during the festival, I saw the Taiwanese film, Far Away Eyes. In this film we follow a young man at a pivotal point in his life, as he reflects on his life, his career and his past love.
The film is beautiful, Taipei in black and white is absolutely stunning. It’s not so much a story as it is a snapshot of a man’s life. He is reflecting on everything that has led him to this moment. His photography career is artistically draining and he’s not sure if he wants to continue it. Early in the film he sells his DVDs and even his camera to a pawn shop, clearly showing he is falling out of love with his passion.
Far Away Eyes; I’m a broken man, with maybe a few screws loose
The protagonist’s eyes are always looking far off, never quite in focus with what is going on around him. In Taiwan, hitting 30 is a big moment for people and you can tell he is dreading this moment happening. He doesn’t know what to do with his life if his passion isn’t working for him. There is also a subplot involving the city he lives in, which reflects how is feeling during the film.
Far Away Eyes is a beautiful film and I appreciated so much of the work put into the visuals. There is an excellent use of negative space and the various locations in the film are strikingly shot. This film has one of the most beautiful shots I’ve seen in cinema. Unfortunately, the disconnected nature of the protagonist disconnected me from the film. I found myself excited by the visuals of the film. However, I felt the narrative itself was quite unemotional.
I did enjoy travelling the streets of Taipei, as they were littered with interesting characters. The pawn shop I spoke on earlier in the review is a highlight of the film. It’s like a treasure trove of memories.
Ultimately, Far Away Eyes is an interesting film. Visually it’s an absolute treat, narratively it didn’t connect with me. Check out the IFI and the East Asia Film Festival to learn more about this film and the other films being shown.
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