DIN TAO: Leader of The Parade 陣頭 PRESS PREVIEW.
Sure, this feature bears an oddball name.
Furthermore it was shot on a modest budget of USD 1.3 million.
Yet it unexpectedly became a sleeper hit when it was released in TAIWAN during the Lunar New Year 2012 with a record-breaking box office take of more than USD 10 million, out-performing all local and foreign films during that period.
No mean feat as that status is still maintained.
Assuredly it’s a mighty film that undresses the Taiwanese art of the DIN TAO ritual in grand style.
DIN TAO is a significant street act in Taiwan to those who may not know.
It’s a glorious religious ritual performed to express the people’s belief and gratitude to Gods during religious festivals.
We are treated to an artistic eye-opener, focusing on the splendor of the DIN TAO art with a matching tale that will tug at your heartstrings.
Some soul – yes, with a lot of heart to boot.
DIN TAO the movie packs a beautiful formula that combines traditional practices of the DIN TAO art with modern elements within a heartwarming script.
And kudos to an all-star cast who succeeds in bringing forth the emotional depth that’s required in each of their roles.
It is television director FUNG KAI’s first foray onto the big screen and he deserves a resounding pat on the back for drumming us with this wondrous piece of cinematic gem.
There’s an air of poetic beauty throughout in the element if you care to dig.
Whilst FUNG KAI applauds that it may be acceptable to be young and disdainful, he also clearly demonstrates that respect for the elders and one’s family is an important factor.
Treasure this thing called filial piety, is his didactic reminder.
Let’s have a quick run-through of the plot line:
Allen Ko (柯有倫) plays A-tai, a hot-tempered young man who aspires about becoming a rocker in the US. He quits school in Taipei and returns to his Taichung village to work-and-save, before following his heart’s desire.
A-tai is often at loggerheads with his father, Uncle Da (A-hsi, 阿西), who runs a DIN TAO troupe, and they quarrel whenever their paths are crossed.
But Uncle Da is in financial straits. While his company struggles to make ends meet, his long-standing rival Wu Cheng (Liao Chun, 廖峻) and his troupe meet with success and popularity.
Irked by Wu’s arrogance, A-tai decides to lead the troupe’s demoralized members on a countrywide walk in search of inspiration to enhance the traditional folk art form.
Inspired by the true story of Taichung’s Chio-Tian Folk Drums & Arts Troupe, this movie glorifies the physical and emotional challenges a group of youth endures while engaging in the diminishing art of folk drums culture.
The troupe’s training regimen includes running six miles daily, hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups, hours of drumming, martial arts, meditation and studies on Taiwanese culture. In recent years, Chio-Tian has performed at national ceremonies and other public events.
This movie takes us on a rollercoaster ride spiced with thrills, spills, joys, sorrows and heartbreaks.
Spirituality and surrealism aside, one must realize that there’s always, a redemption factor in life where forgiveness heals all pains.
In closing, this Reviewer is highlighting a Dalai Lama quote to best describe the moral of this film:
“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.
If you wish to know that you are safe, cause another to know that they are safe.
If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another to better understand.
If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.”
Nothing can be further from the truth, right?
THE PRESS CONFERENCE