Cinematographer puts Taiwan film on world stage

Taiwan cinematographer Lee Ping-bin is taking the island’s distinctive brand of art house cinema to the world and garnering a growing list of international accolades for his signature long shots and dream-like style.

Lee’s work on “Crosscurrent,” a 2016 ode to the Yangtze River, earned him an Outstanding Artistic Contribution for Cinematography award at last month’s Berlin International Film Festival.

During his Silver Bear acceptance speech, Lee attributed the achievement to his emotional ties with Taiwan and upbringing in the south of the country.

The Berlin honor is an extension of his successful collaboration with fellow southern Taiwan native Hou Hsiao-hsien, who won best director at Cannes in 2015 for “The Assassin.”

These two icons of Taiwan new wave cinema first worked together over 30 years ago. Their partnership came to define the movement and launched a decade of films in the 1980s characterized by their realism and slow pace.

Hailed as a master of light and shadow, Lee said his offerings reflect the creative development of Taiwan’s film industry. Born in 1954, the former maritime student began his filmmaking career at Central Pictures Corp. where he honed his cinematography skills and helped establish industry standards.

Lee’s talents are a much sought-after commodity in world cinema. The last two decades saw him join with numerous art house luminaries like Japan’s Hirokazu Koreeda, Vietnam’s Tran Anh Hung and Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-wai.

Looking ahead, Lee said he will use his role as chairman of Taipei Film Festival to further develop the local movie industry. His rich international experience and reputation are certain to help more of Taiwan’s aspiring filmmakers fulfill their potential.

Source: Taiwan Today