Cinema Matters #8: Don’t Miss Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above on the Big Screen!

August 2014
I believe cinema matters.  This is a continuing monthly series of personal thoughts on film in no more than 750 words.

Movies come.  Movies go.  Something hooks you, and you go see it.  It could be the movie poster, the trailer, the story, an actor, or you are just craving for popcorn.  Sometimes, you tell yourself you want to see it.  But you don’t see it because you have no time, or no one wants to tag along.  Maybe another film caught your interest, and you had to pick just one.  

Choosing a movie to see can be a frustrating thing especially when you are busy, but when the stars align, you will come to realize that certain films are only here for a short span of time, a fleeting moment in time, and if you miss it in cinemas, you can only wish to the heavens that you didn’t.  It’s not that you will miss it forever, but that it is the only opportunity to see it on the big screen. 

You might have heard of a certain Taiwanese documentary called Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above now showing in theaters.  That is a film you should not miss on the big screen, because it is the only format that would do justice to its form and aesthetic.  

And because it will not stay in theaters for a long time, that window to see it is very small.  In this vein, I urge you to see it as soon as possible because it is a very beautiful and meaningful work.  Get your friends on board, spread the word to your colleagues, relatives and family. 

Here are TEN reasons you should grab tickets and see the film:
1.   It won Best Documentary at the prestigious 50th Golden Horse Awards, considered to be the Chinese ‘Oscars’ of the East Asian region.  It is a mark of quality.

2.   It is the highest-grossing documentary at the Taiwanese box-office of all-time, with over NT200 million (~S$8.3 million) in takings.  It is heartening to see the Taiwanese going all out to support an excellent film at their theatres.

3.   It was shot entirely from the sky via stunning aerial photography by director and veteran aerial photographer Chi Po-lin using a chopper and industry-grade aerial cameras.  You get to see Taiwan like never before, like a floating cloud or a soaring bird.  You will witness its magnificent and majestic natural beauty.

4.   It delivers a strong eco-message about doing our part to protect the environment that we live in.  You will witness Taiwan beyond her beauty as the documentary also reveals the horrors and consequences of pollution, deforestation, industrialization, and much more.

5.   Singaporean composer Ricky Ho scores the documentary, earning a Golden Horse nomination for Best Original Score, which he won for Seediq Bale: Warriors of the Rainbow (2011) a few years ago.  He conducts the famous City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra with layered compositions that are inspired by the Classical and New Age styles.  

6.   Narrator Wu Nien-Jen’s earthly, compassionate voice subtly tells us more about the environmental issues plaguing Taiwan.  His tone engages us emotionally and intellectually, urging us not to hide from the facts.    

7.   There’s no CGI.  What you see is really what you get.  You need a break from CGI.  See something real for a change.

8.   Cannes’ award-winning short Oh Lucy! is tagged along with the documentary, so you get a double bill showcase!  Oh Lucy! is a joint Japan-USA-Singapore production, directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi as her graduating thesis short film from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.  It is one of the best shorts I have seen in recent years.

9.   Despite being Taiwan-centric, it has a clear, universal message for us, no matter where we come from, or what language we speak.  It comes with English subtitles!

10. Because the people in this video below said so.

Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above is now showing exclusively at Cathay Orchard Cineleisure and Jem.  Oh Lucy! will be played before the main feature in a double-bill showcase.  Tickets are available at all Cathay Cineplexes box offices and online at Cathay’s website: [].

[For more articles, please visit]


Popular Posts