This thoughtful tour of Taiwan attempts to put island life into some context, geographically and philosophically. Mostly, "Poles Extremity" focuses on just a few people in each of the isle's four corners, and in so doing reps an intimate, insider's jaunt that should fare well in ethnically interested venues and limited tube berths.

This thoughtful tour of Taiwan attempts to put island life into some context, geographically and philosophically. Mostly, “Poles Extremity” focuses on just a few people in each of the isle’s four corners, and in so doing reps an intimate, insider’s jaunt that should fare well in ethnically interested venues and limited tube berths.

First seg, a visit with a middle-aged woman who collects refuse on Taiwan’s southern tip (and is an excellent folk singer, to boot), is visually arresting, although lenser Hoho Liu’s black-and-white images, laced with poetic title cards, are consistently fine. Last, about an aboriginal boy adrift on eastern shore is most affecting. In-between segs look at fisherfolk struggling against pollution in the west and prostitutes recounting a lifetime of abuse in the north. Pic, which suffers from a touch of visual repetition, makes a nice traveling companion to helmer Zero Chou’s other hourlong effort, “Corner’s.”

Poles Extremity

Docu - Taiwan

Production

A ZeHo Illusion Studio production. (International sales: ZeHo Illusion Studio, Taipei.) Produced by Zero Chou, Hoho Liu, Huang Chao-Ying. Directed, written by Zero Chou.

Crew

Camera (B&W, DV), Hoho Liu; editors, Chou, Liu; music, Chuang Jeng-Yu. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Dragons & Tigers), Sept. 29, 2003. Running time: 56 MIN.

With

Huang Chue-Yin, Chen Hsiu-Chich, Huang Hsueh, Juan-Juan, Wang Yi-Min, Wang Yi-Rong.
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