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Tigerwomen Grow Wings

Temporarily quitting her usual beats of gender and sexuality, Hamburg-based documaker Monika Treut suffers from a bad case of first-time-in-Asia-itis in "Tigerwomen Grow Wings," a portrait of three Taiwan femmes of different generations that has no perceptible point-of-view and largely recycles exotic cliches. Dated semi-feminist approach -- which could have cut it 30 years ago but seems hackneyed today -- may appeal to those for whom the Far East is still terra incognito.

Cast:
With: DJ Chen (Chen Yin-jung), Li Ang, Hsieh Yueh-hsia, Peng Ya-ling, Josephine Ho, Wang Rong-yu, Aileen Li, Michelle Yeh.

Temporarily quitting her usual beats of gender and sexuality, Hamburg-based documaker Monika Treut suffers from a bad case of first-time-in-Asia-itis in “Tigerwomen Grow Wings,” a portrait of three Taiwan femmes of different generations that has no perceptible point-of-view and largely recycles exotic cliches. Dated semi-feminist approach — which could have cut it 30 years ago but seems hackneyed today — may appeal to those for whom the Far East is still terra incognito.

Filmed during the neck-and-neck 2004 presidential elections, when pro-independence DPP leader Chen Shui-bian was wounded in a purported shooting, pic zooms in on the thoughts and lives of veteran Chinese opera star Hsieh Yueh-hsia, middle-generation novelist Li Ang and young, firsttime director DJ Chen (mainstream gay comedy “Formula 17”). Best stuff is Li’s memories as a child of Taiwan’s anticommunist White Terror of the ’50s and ’60s; faced with little probing by Treut, helmer Chen remains an enigma, and Hsieh little more. Padded out with TV footage of the election campaigns, and sequences of the women eating and at a karaoke, film fails to find any common threads between its subjects. Technical quality is average for DV.

Tigerwomen Grow Wings

Germany-Taiwan

Production: A Hyena Films (Germany)/PTS (Taiwan) production. Produced, directed, written by Monika Treut.

Crew: Camera (color, DigiBeta), Elfi Mikesch; editor, Angela Christlieb, Matthias Behrens; music, Pau Dull, Panai, Difang, Zhao Xi. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama Documentary), Feb. 11, 2005. Mandarin, Hokkien, English dialogue. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: With: DJ Chen (Chen Yin-jung), Li Ang, Hsieh Yueh-hsia, Peng Ya-ling, Josephine Ho, Wang Rong-yu, Aileen Li, Michelle Yeh.

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