Cape No. 7

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Cape No. 7
海角七號
Cape No.7.jpg
Directed by Wei Te-Sheng
Produced by Jimmy Huang
Wei Te-Sheng
Written by Wei Te-Sheng
Starring Van Fan
Chie Tanaka
Kousuke Atari
Rachel Liang
Johnny C.J. Lin
Ming Hsiung
Ying Wei-Min
Ma Nien-hsien
Joanne Yang
Bjanav Zenror
Ju-Lung Ma
Hsiao-Lan Pei
Chang Kuei
Shino Lin
Pei-Chen Lee
Chin-Yen Chang
Music by Chi-Yi Lo
Fred Lu
Cinematography Ting-chang Chin
Distributed by Buena Vista
Astro Entertainment Sdn Bhd (Malaysia)
Release dates
  • August 22, 2008 (2008-08-22) (Taiwan)
Running time 129 minutes
Country Taiwan
Language Taiwanese, Mandarin, Japanese
Budget NT$ 50 million
(US$1.5 million)
Box office Domestic (Taiwan)
NT$ 530 million
(US$16 million)
Other region
Hong Kong:
HK$ 7.62 million
(US$1 million)

Cape No. 7 (traditional Chinese: 海角七號; simplified Chinese: 海角七号; pinyin: Hǎijiǎo Qī Hào; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hái-kak Chhit-hō; Japanese: 海角七号 (kaikaku nana gō)) is a 2008 Taiwanese romance comedic music-drama film[1] written and directed by Wei Te-Sheng, his first full-length motion picture. The film is in Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese with significant lines in Japanese. Before its commercial release, the film was world premiered on June 20, 2008 at the 2008 Taipei Film Festival as the opening film.[2] The film later won 3 awards in this festival.

Prior to this film, the two leading actors Van Fan and Chie Tanaka only had minor acting experience while some of the supporting roles were filled by non-actors. Even without a strong promotional campaign, the film had become so popular in Taiwan that on November 1, 2008 it became the second highest grossing film in the country's cinematic history, behind James Cameron's Titanic.[3] The film has grossed over US$13,804,531 since its release.[4]

The film has won 15 awards to date, including 6 at the 2008 Golden Horse Awards. It was also Taiwan's entry to compete in the 81st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, although it did not secure a nomination.[5]

Plot[edit]

In the 1940s near the end of the Japanese era of Taiwan, an unnamed teacher (Atari) dispatched to the southernmost town of Hengchun falls in love with a local girl with the Japanese name Kojima Tomoko (Liang). After the Surrender of Japan, the teacher is forced to return home as Taiwan was placed under the administrative control of the Republic of China. On his trip home, he pens seven love letters to express his regret for leaving Kojima Tomoko, who originally planned to elope with him to Japan.

More than 60 years later, Aga (Fan), a struggling young rock band singer leaves Taipei to return to his hometown of Hengchun. There, his step father (Ma), the Town Council Representative, arranges a position for him as a postman, replacing the aging Old Mao (C. Lin), on leave after a motorcycle accident broke his leg. One day, Aga comes across an undeliverable piece of mail that was supposed to be returned to the sender in Japan; the daughter of the now deceased Japanese teacher had decided to mail the unsent love letters to Taiwan after discovering them. Aga unlawfully keeps and opens the package to discover its contents, but the old Japanese-style address Cape No. 7, Kōshun District, Takao Prefecture can no longer be found.

Meantime a local resort hotel in nearby Kenting National Park is organizing a beach concert featuring Japanese pop singer Kousuke Atari, but Aga's step father makes use of his official position to insist that the opening band be composed of locals. Tomoko (Tanaka), an over-the-hill Mandarin-speaking Japanese fashion model dispatched to Hengchun, is assigned the difficult task of managing this hastily assembled band, led by Aga along with six other locals of rather particular backgrounds. After a frustrating trial period, Aga and Tomoko unexpectedly begin a relationship. With some assistance from hotel maid Mingchu (S. Lin), who is revealed to be Kojima Tomoko's granddaughter, Tomoko helps Aga find the rightful recipient of the seven love letters. Tomoko then tells Aga that she plans on returning to Japan after the concert because of a job offer. After returning the seven love letters, a heartbroken but determined Aga returns to the beach resort and performs a highly successful concert with his local band alongside Kousuke Atari while Kojima Tomoko reads the letters.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role Note
Van Fan Aga (阿嘉) The band's lead singer. Hengchun native who recently returned to the town after failing to find success in Taipei.
Chie Tanaka Tomoko (友子) Japanese model and agent assigned to organize the local band.
Kousuke Atari Japanese teacher in flashback scenes/himself in the present. He is an actual pop star in real life
Rachel Liang
(梁文音)
Kojima Tomoko (小島友子) in flashback scenes. Was left behind by her lover.
Johnny C.J. Lin
(林宗仁)
Old Mao (茂伯) Postman; yueqinist, bassist and tambourineist in the band, close to 80 years old. Proud of having his talents referred to by the yueqin as a "national treasure" and desperate to perform in any capacity possible. Capable of speaking Japanese.
Ming Hsiung
(民雄)
Rauma (勞馬) Short-tempered Policeman of Rukai tribe origin; guitarist in the band. Abandoned by his wife. Left the Taiwan police special forces for his wife before she abandoned him.
Ying Wei-Min
(應蔚民)
Frog (水蛙) Mechanic in a local motorcycle shop; drummer of the band. Infatuated with his boss' wife.
Ma Nien-hsien
(馬念先)
Malasun (馬拉桑) Diligent alcohol salesman of Hakka origin from nearby Baoli Village, Checheng Township; bassist in the band.
Joanne Yang
(楊蕎安)
Dada (大大) 10-year-old girl who plays piano in local church; keyboardist in the band.
Bjanav Zenror
(丹耐夫正若)
Olalan (歐拉朗) Rauma's father; policeman; former bassist in the band.
Ju-Lung Ma
(馬如龍)
Hong Kuo-jung (洪國榮),Town Council Representative Aga's step father; insists on allowing local talent to perform in the concert.
Hsiao-Lan Pei
(沛小嵐)
Aga's mother.
Chang Kuei
(張魁)
Hotel Manager Under pressure from Aga's stepfather, was forced to allow the band formed by locals to perform in the concert.
Shino Lin
(林曉培)
Lin Mingchu (林明珠) Hotel maid; capable of speaking Japanese. Kojima Tomoko's granddaughter and Dada's mother.
Pei-Chen Lee
(李佩甄)
Motorcycle shop owner's wife Buxom, with triplet sons. Frog's employer's wife and infatuation.
Chin-Yen Chang
(張沁妍)
Meiling (美玲) Hotel receptionist. Originally had disputes but later developed brief relationship with Malasun.
Yukihiko Kageyama
(蔭山征彦)
Narrator of the teacher's love letters Voice only

Filming[edit]

The inspiration for Cape No. 7 came in July 2004 when director Wei read a report about a Yunlin postman who successfully delivered a piece of mail addressed in the old Japanese style - the sender was the former Japanese employer of the recipient.[6] Wei decided to make a film based on this story, in the hopes of financing his long-awaited epic film Seediq Bale, which had problems securing financial interest.[7]

By the end of 2006 Wei had finished Cape No. 7's script. He was subsequently awarded NT$ 5 million for winning the "Domestic Film Fund" from Taiwan's Government Information Office.[7] Wei said he picked Hengchun as the film's setting due to its richness in contrasts: mountains along with beaches; the old towns near the modern resort hotels; the aging population with the young working in Taipei; the diversified demographics with Hoklo, Hakka, Mainlanders, Taiwanese aborigines, and international tourists; the weather variation between the tropical southern Taiwan and the snow-laden Japan. Wei believed that such a setting would provide the ideal backdrop for the "harmony in diversity" theme of Cape No. 7.[8]

The movie was filmed between September and November 2007 in Hengchun and its neighboring Checheng and Manjhou Townships, located on the Hengchun Peninsula of Pingtung County. The set for the 'Hotel Chateau' (where the concert is held and at which model Tomoko stays) was the real life Château Beach Resort[9] at Kenting. A few scenes were also filmed in Fangliao Township and Jiadong Township of Pingtung County, Kaohsiung International Airport, Ximending and Wenshan District in Taipei.[10][11] The final scene presenting the Japanese teacher (Kousuke Atari) and other Japanese people leaving Taiwan by ship was filmed in an abandoned brewery in Taichung with more than 500 extras.[12] Before filming, Chie Tanaka had been staying in Taiwan for 15 months to study Chinese so she did not have major problems dealing with the Chinese lines in the film. Kousuke Atari played himself and as the 1940s Japanese teacher in this film.

As the production went over budget, Wei had problems securing additional capital; he subsequently refinanced his home and forced his family NT$ 30 million (approx. $900,000 USD) into debt before release. Cast members Pei-Chen Lee and Chin-Yen Chang revealed that during filming Wei could barely afford the film rolls and lodging for the crew.[13][14] Wei later said this film's zealous reception should help him manage his debts.[15]

Wei believed "that the films that hit the screens before the end of summer vacation in 2007 were all 'safe bets'", because they avoided competition from Hollywood blockbusters. Wei followed this theory when he released Cape No. 7 in 2008. Besides, Wei focused on the promotion of the film. The film was premiered in July, 2008, and attracted the interest of Buena Vista International, which made 50 copies of the film and distributed them nationally in August.[16]

The film's 133 minute theatrical version was edited from the first cut of 160 minutes. Aga and Tomoko's love scene was shortened, and some of their dialog before the love scene was cut as well.[17] The final version was shortened in Mainland China after the government film agency snipped out over half an hour of the film for political purposes. Nevertheless, rampant piracy in Mainland China saw the unedited version mass distributed via street stalls and the internet.

The film's marketing is combined with extensive merchandise, including original soundtrack CD, books, novelization, accessories, tours and musical concerts. The film contributed tourism for Hengchun, and especially boosted 'Hotel Chateau'. A televised concert was held with actors performing some numbers in the movie.

Reception[edit]

Taiwan[edit]

Although the film only attracted moderate box-office success during its first weeks of release, it was helped by strong word of mouth buzz, mainly in blogs and on the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) Bulletin Board System, eventually leading to its record-breaking box-office performance.[3][18]

Robert Chen, an assistant professor in the Department of Radio and Television at National Chengchi University, suggests that the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike may have reduced competition and that the distributor avoided a direct scheduling confrontation with The Dark Knight.[16]

Date Accumulated box-office in Taipei (NT$) Milestone
Aug 29, 2008 5.66 million
Sep 11, 2008 28.18 million surpassed Secret to become the top-selling Taiwan-made film in this island's cinematic history[19]
Sep 18, 2008 51.99 million
Sep 27, 2008 109 million surpassed The Dark Knight's 109-million accumulated Taipei sales record[20]
Oct 4, 2008 151 million surpassed Lust, Caution's 136-million accumulated Taipei sales record[21]
Oct 6, 2008 164 million surpassed Police Story 3's 156-million accumulated Taipei sales record to become the top-selling mandarin-language film in Taiwan history[22]
Oct 14, 2008 201 million surpassed The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's 200-million accumulated Taipei sales record to become the 4th top-selling film in Taiwan history[23]
Oct 19, 2008 215 million surpassed The Lost World: Jurassic Park's 213-million accumulated Taipei sales record to become the 3rd top-selling film in Taiwan history[3]
Nov 1, 2008 225.7 million surpassed Jurassic Park's 225.2-million accumulated Taipei sales record to become the 2nd top-selling film in Taiwan history, only behind James Cameron's Titanic's 387.8-million[3]
Dec 12, 2008 232 million Final Taipei box-office (530 million total for the entire country)[3]

Critics attribute the film's box office success to its honest depiction of the rural southern Taiwan;[24] the strong emotional resonance among older viewers;[25] the humorous tone, optimistic characters, and musical performances.[26][27]

International[edit]

The film gathered widespread attention at the 2008 Pusan International Film Festival where its broadcasting rights were successfully sold to Hong Kong; South Korea; Malaysia and Brunei,[28] through Astro Entertainment Sdn Bhd[29] and All Asia Multimedia Network, both subsidiaries of Malaysian pay-TV group Astro All Asia Networks; and Singapore.[30] The Hong Kong release date was on November 20, 2008 and the film ranked first during its first week of release.[31] Local critics found this film "civil, humorous, and friendly".[32] The Singapore release date was originally January 1, 2009 but distributors decided to release this film earlier on November 27, 2008 so as to satisfy demand from Singaporeans and to fight piracy.[33][34] The film made its United States premiere on October 10, 2008 in Honolulu at the Hawaii International Film Festival, where it won the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award for Best Narrative.[35] Its premiere in the Continental United States was on December 12, 2008 in Los Angeles.[36]

Profit Sharing[edit]

Teng Sue-feng used the film to discuss how film profit is shared in Taiwan. Teng estimates the revenue from the movie to be NTD 520 million, and the production cost to be NTD 50 million. After the deducting the production costs, 60% of the profit goes to movie theaters, 10% to the distributor. The director gets 10%, which is about NT$140 million.[37]

Soundtrack[edit]

Cape No. 7's soundtrack was released on October 24, 2008 by the local Forward Music Corporation, Van Fan's then agency.

  1. "The First Letter: "Tomoko, Are You Still Waiting for Me?" (Yukihiko Kageyama)
  2. "Don't Wanna" (Van Fan)
  3. "The Second Letter: Destiny Is this Era's Sin" (Yukihiko Kageyama)
  4. "Love You to Death" (Joanne Yang, etc.)
  5. "The Third Letter: Tomoko, I Fell in Love with You at that Moment" (Yukihiko Kageyama)
  6. "Where to Go" (Bjanav Zenror)
  7. "The Fourth Letter: Why the Sea Breeze Always Brings Weep" (Yukihiko Kageyama)
  8. "To Daughter" (Patricia Ho)
  9. "The Fifth Letter: Tomoko, I Really Miss You: Ah! Rainbow!" (Yukihiko Kageyama)
  10. "As Happy as Can Be" (live version from the film) (Van Fan, Johnny C.J. Lin, Ming Hsiung, Ying Wei-Min, Ma Nien-hsien, Joanne Yang)
  11. "The Sixth Letter: I Write My Shame into the Last Letter" (Yukihiko Kageyama)
  12. "South of Border" (Van Fan)
  13. "Heidenröslein" (Van Fan, Kousuke Atari, Chie Tanaka)
  14. "The Seventh and Last Letter" (Van Fan)
  15. "1945" (orchestral version)

For an unspecified reason this soundtrack does not include the film's ending theme, "Beautiful Scenery" sung by Rachel Liang. This omission gave some fans reason to boycott this soundtrack.[38]

DVD/BD release[edit]

On November 14, 2008, Cape No. 7's distributors announced that the film's official DVD/BD release date will be December 19, 2008. On November 30, 2008 the number of copies ordered in advance had reached 23,000, far surpassing the runner-up record holder in Taiwan's cinematic history, The Lion King's 12,000 reservations in 1995.[39]

Awards[edit]

Win[edit]

Film Festival Awards/Recipients
2008 Taipei Film Festival Best Cinematography (Ting-chang Chin), Taipei Million Grand Award, Best Audience Award
2008 Asian Marine Film Festival Grand Prize[40]
2008 Hawaii International Film Festival Halekulani Golden Orchid Award for Best Narrative[41]
2008 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival Best Cinematography (Ting-chang Chin)[42]
2008 Golden Horse Award Best Supporting Actor (Ju-Lung Ma), Best Original Film Score (Fred Lu, Lo Chi-Yi), Best Original Film Song (Matthew Yen, Tseng Chih-Hao, Van Fan), The Audience Choice Award, The Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year, The Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year (Wei Te-Sheng)[43]
3rd Asian Film Awards The Edward Yang New Talent Award(Wei Te-sheng)[44]
9th Chinese Film Media Award The Juries' Special Award[45]
2009 Shanghai Film Critics Awards Film of Merit[46]

Nominated[edit]

Film Festival Awards/Nominees
2008 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival Best Director (Wei Te-Sheng), Best Asian Film[42]
2008 Golden Horse Award Best Feature Film, Best Director(Wei Te-Sheng), Best New Performer(Chie Tanaka, Johnny C.J. Lin), Best Cinematography(Ting-chang Chin), Best Sound Effect(Tu Duu-Chi)[43]
2008 Festival International du film asiatique de Vesoul Asian Feature Film
28th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Asian Film

Controversies[edit]

  • The United Daily News published an editorial criticizing the film as "marred by colonial thoughts during the Japanese era" on September 25, 2008.[47]
  • At the 2008 Pusan Festival, a deputy director of Taiwan's Government Information Office was barred from attending the closing ceremony due to political pressure from the People's Republic of China. Information about the film was also pulled from the festival's website.[30]
  • On October 15, 2008, Wang Cho-Chiun (王卓鈞), the Director-General of Taiwan's National Police Agency, was asked about his thoughts after seeing Cape No. 7. He responded that in two scenes he felt the film degraded the image of Taiwan's police force, and behavior such as Rauma beating Aga certainly would not be allowed in real Taiwan society.[48]
  • During his visit to Taiwan in November 2008, Chen Yunlin, the Chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), publicly praised this film after a private screening. However on November 28, 2008 during a regular ARATS meeting in Beijing, Chen reversed his view and stated that this film was "marred by the shadow of Japanization". He recommended the film be banned in the People's Republic of China.[49] Chen's standpoints were later revoked by Yang Yi(楊毅), the spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office later on December 13, 2008. Yang said the PRC delayed the release of Cape No. 7 only due to "technical issues such as translation" and the release date will be December 26, 2008.[50] The final release date was further delayed to February 14, 2009 and the version censored by the PRC authorities was only 100-minute long: certain Taiwanese Hokkien slang, foul words, and scenes such as Old Mao speaking Japanese were cut.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 7 Reflections on Cape No. 7
  2. ^ 台灣電影年度大製作 《海角七號》6/20台北電影節世界首映
  3. ^ a b c d e 大家都很關心的《海角七號》台北票房(全台請逕自乘以2)
  4. ^ Boxoffice Mojo
  5. ^ 《海角七號》金馬獎入圍9項 志玲姐姐落馬!
  6. ^ 茂伯的本尊 郵差丁滄源
  7. ^ a b 魏德聖的 [賽德克巴萊] 血淚史
  8. ^ 〈海角七號〉魏德聖自爆:不想當導演
  9. ^ Château Resort hotel's Website
  10. ^ 彩虹旅程 海角七號場景大公開
  11. ^ Cape No.7 海角七號拍攝場景分享
  12. ^ 海角離別送行最後一幕 500人臨演當地居民軋一角
  13. ^ 《海角七號》佩甄挺窮導演魏德聖
  14. ^ 張沁妍海角七號背後 不為人知的辛酸
  15. ^ 《海角七號》票房進逼6千萬 3千萬債務解套
  16. ^ a b Teng Sue-feng (2 2009). tr. by Jonathan Barnard. "Taiwan's Film Industry after Cape No. 7". Taiwan Panorama. "He observed that the films that hit the screens before the end of summer vacation in 2007 were all "safe bets" at the box office."  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ 《海角七號》可以說的‧秘密
  18. ^ 從賽德克巴萊到海角七號,然後,再一次回到賽德克巴萊
  19. ^ 海角七號上映21天票房超越周董不能說的秘密2個月進帳
  20. ^ 破色,海角七號票房奪冠 再等等
  21. ^ 破色,戒北市票房 海角七號賣道具做公益
  22. ^ 海角破3億 創華語影史最高票房
  23. ^ 雙十國慶 《海角七號》台北市票房向2億元挺進!
  24. ^ 海角七號 星媒體:台灣心靈雞湯
  25. ^ 海角七號 震動台灣人心靈
  26. ^ Cape No. 7 English Review
  27. ^ 多事之秋、王建民又受傷 戴立忍:幸好有《海角七號》
  28. ^ http://www.screendaily.com/taiwanese-hit-cape-no7-tops-hong-kong-box-office/4042109.article
  29. ^ http://www.cinema.com.my/news/news.aspx?search=2008.cape_no7_3045
  30. ^ a b 釜山電影論壇 台灣不見了
  31. ^ 海角七號勇奪香港首週票房冠軍!
  32. ^ 《海角七號》有親切情趣
  33. ^ 海角七號挑戰4億 台灣影史奪亞軍
  34. ^ 海角七號31日在星首映 一票難求
  35. ^ Hawaii International Film Festival listing
  36. ^ 海角七號將跨海來洛杉磯參加台灣影展
  37. ^ Sue-feng, Teng. "Biggest Production in Taiwan Film History-Seediq Bale". Taiwan Panorama. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  38. ^ 嚴雲農批豐華起效應 網友抵制「海角」原聲帶
  39. ^ 【海角七號】DVD/BD發行日期公佈
  40. ^ [1]
  41. ^ [2]
  42. ^ a b 《海角七號》輸了大獎贏人氣‧范逸臣講外星語‧千繪性感搶鏡
  43. ^ a b The 45th Golden Horse Award Competition
  44. ^ Asia Film Awards official website
  45. ^ 田中千绘:最想演能说流利中国话的华人
  46. ^ IMDB:Shanghai Film Critics Awards: 2009
  47. ^ 海角七號…殖民地次文化陰影
  48. ^ "海角"警動粗 警署長有意見
  49. ^ http://www.epochtimes.com/b5/8/12/1/n2347741.htm 民進黨:中國禁海角七號登陸 政治粗暴
  50. ^ 《海角七號》最快26日北京上映
  51. ^ 滞后上映 台湾"爆房"片《海角七号》反响平平

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Golden Horse Award
Preceded by
Secret
The Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year
2008
Succeeded by
TBD