台灣紀錄片先鋒

1960s台灣紀實影像特輯
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2018 / 5月

文‧陳亮君 圖‧莊坤儒


在台灣60年代就已出現許多紀錄電影,有以家庭成員為題材,也有以城市裡人們生活的紀實為主軸,更有以社會關懷為背景的紀錄片,這是一個什麼樣的時代?影片導演對當時創作的心境為何?讓我們跟著台灣國際紀錄片影展(TIDF)策展人林木材、知名攝影師莊靈、藝術家韓湘寧,一同來回顧台灣60年代的紀錄片。

 


對比解嚴後百花齊放的台灣紀錄片,60年代台灣紀錄片在影史上佔有先導的地位。而一般人所想像紀錄片都是沉悶、無趣的刻板印象,其實不盡如此,接下來就讓我們逐一來剖析「紀錄」的種種樣貌。

「紀錄」的各種形式

什麼是紀錄片?不同的人可能會有不同的解讀與見解,台灣國際紀錄片影展(TIDF)策展人林木材認為,「真實」可能有很多不同的面向,而紀錄片導演就是試圖去用他所看到的角度,去接近那個真實。

而現今紀錄片所展現的形式,可謂五花八門,有一種沒有任何實體拍攝的影片,完全用Google Map的街景圖,用電腦側錄的方式,呈現出導演被迫離開家鄉的鄉愁,「滑鼠點兩下,畫面就會往前,配上旁白,這蠻顛覆我們對紀錄片的看法。」林木材在巴黎真實影展(Cinéma du Réel)中,對這位西班牙年輕導演的作品印象深刻。

還有一些動畫片,是運用主角訪談的真實聲音,再用動畫的影像來搭配,雖然當時可能拍不到,或者當事人不便曝光,但只要是運用到紀實的成分在裡面,可以是影像、聲音,甚至是極富個人的感官經驗,都能為紀錄片增添多樣的可能性。

60年代台灣紀錄片

50~60年代中期以政令宣導為主的影片,雖然也有記錄地方的風土民情,但離人民真正的生活,仍有段距離。直到1967年導演陳耀圻所拍攝完成的《劉必稼》,描述一個老兵在花蓮豐田大壩裡工作,藉由問答的方式呈現其生活與心情。像這樣的素人臉孔與庶民生活,以及強烈的「社會關懷」意識,在藝文界引起震撼,因為這是第一部具有現代觀點的紀錄片。

而談到60年代的紀錄片,就不得不提1965年1月1日在台北創刊的《劇場》雜誌,這是以當代前衛電影與戲劇為主的刊物,創辦人莊靈提及當年的情形:「我們雜誌就是大家湊錢來辦,沒有稿費,不是商業,在那個時代我們走的還蠻前面的。」

從古希臘的悲劇,到法國電影新浪潮時期的導演楚浮(François Truffaut)、亞倫‧雷奈(Alain Resnais)等人的作品,還有瑞典導演英格瑪‧伯格曼(Ernst Ingmar Bergman)的《處女之泉》(The Virgin Spring)……等,譯介了當時西方主要的戲劇和電影潮流。也是在這個時期,聚集了如陳耀圻、邱剛健、李至善、黃華成……等藝文人士。至於發行人是他夫人陳夏生這件事,莊靈開玩笑地說:「她在講我們沒安好心,主要是萬一出了什麼紕漏,受到警總關愛的話,發行人就要去報告。」

正因為60年代是台灣各類現代藝術開始萌芽的時候,除了戲劇、電影,也包含了當時的《現代文學》,以及「五月畫會」的成立,這種跨界、跨領域的交流,形成了一股風潮,如作家陳映真、劉大任也參與了當時《劇場》雜誌實驗電影《等待果陀》的演出,甚至影響力擴及至香港,如香港知名作家西西的作品《銀河系》(1968),就是在擔任《劇場》編輯期間所吸收的養分,因其胞兄在電視台工作,獲得不少廢棄新聞膠卷,經她重新剪輯後,成為時代的另類紀錄。

受到《劇場》雜誌影響的還有1967年龍思良的《過節》,雖僅是5分鐘的短片,卻呈現出台灣逢年過節前,一般民眾的準備情景,而這部片也是當年《劇場》雜誌第二次電影發表會時的作品。此外,1966年張照堂的《現代詩展》,紀錄了當時參展的藝術家黃華成、龍思良、黃永松的作品;黃華成編寫的《先知》,導演陳耀圻則以不開啟布幕的方式改編呈現;自義大利留學回來,受新寫實主義影響的白景瑞,在1964年完成《台北之晨》,紀錄了當時台北的清晨、人群、建築等城市氛圍。這些影片在當時的主流黃梅調與瓊瑤電影外,另開闢出了截然不同的電影表現方式。

莊靈:《延》、《赤子》

「那時我剛進台視,電影攝影機還是上發條的,16釐米,沒有聲音,我自己付錢買片子來拍《延》(1966)這部作品。」莊靈當時身兼攝影師、導演與編劇,利用休假時間,用自己的家人來表達當時年輕人的生活實況。

一個孕婦(莊靈的夫人)從一早起床,到搭公車上下班買菜的日常,沒有化妝、打燈與錄音,用動態的影像,做百分之百的真實記錄。莊靈說:「你坐公車就公車,走路就走路,你跟阿婆買菜,買一顆大白菜,或者到肉攤買多少肉,就是現場。」

他當時扛著機器,沿著圍牆,旁邊是水圳,跟著夫人的腳步,一方面避免震動過大影響畫面,另一方面注意全景、中景、近景、特寫等鏡頭呈現,雖然人的身體幅度有限,但可從蹲的站起來,或從近的拉遠,如此獨力完成拍攝。

後來陳耀圻用當時美國流行的歌曲來幫這部片配樂,呈現出溫馨的感覺。「這有點出乎我自己的原始構想,原本我是希望呈現出年輕人生活很單調、枯燥,沒有娛樂的一面。」莊靈說,果然作品完成後有自己的生命,他後來想想,這種溫馨與期待未出生下一代的感覺,或許更能突顯本片也說不定,只是當初拍攝時沒有這樣預設的想法罷了。

《赤子》(1967)則是從小孩出生到周歲,將每個月媽媽帶她出去所拍攝的照片連接在一起。從在至善園旁的小松樹下,從娃娃因站不住而坐下來的鏡頭拉出去,看著外雙溪的農人耕作、長安東路的新蓋大樓、龍山寺虔誠拜拜的人群,到兒童樂園遊玩等場景,文字則是請黃華成寫成卡片再翻拍來呈現。跟《延》不同的是,這些是刻意安排的劇本,透過娃娃好奇的雙眼,來看當時台灣經濟從農業開始轉型到現代都會的一個概念。

韓湘寧:《今日開幕》、《跑》

藝術家韓湘寧是「五月畫會」的成員,對於從繪畫跨界到影像,他一點都不陌生。因為對他來說,突破媒材與工具的界線與限制,正是他源源不絕創作的動力所在。從油畫、滾筒、噴槍,到結合影像的創作,一再地突破他自己的極限,也帶給觀眾嶄新的視覺感受。

韓湘寧認為,「藝術」是一個人對生活上美學的紀錄,而他自由思想的觀念很大的一部分是得益於這個年代。「我很慶幸60年代我有一半的時間在台灣,因為這時期是台灣現代主義剛開始啟蒙的時候。」文學有《現代文學》,影像有《劇場》,繪畫則有「五月畫會」的洗禮。他擁有的第一台攝影機,是1964年到日本東京參加國際版畫雙年展時,在那發現8釐米的攝影機,於是就託朋友帶了一台回來。

當時他還在一家廣告公司擔任美術設計,「我就覺得我要做一個片頭,正好工作時有個照相打字,就有今日開幕的字,準備要用在報紙上……」他拿來翻照後,變成反的,覺得還不錯,也就成了《今日開幕》(1965)的片頭。

藝術創作對韓湘寧來說,總是那麼地隨性與自然,他當時帶著攝影機去野柳,在路旁隨意撿了個廢棄的女性無首人形,放在海邊隨著浪沖上沖下,人形時而如雕塑般伸展,時而在潮起潮落的間隙中若隱若現,如要說其創作意涵是少年對女性軀體的慾望,隨著海浪沖刷而被洗滌也好,還是單純在沙灘上,海水沖在人形上所展現的力與美也罷,這些都是韓湘寧在生活中,對於「美」的感受與紀錄。

《跑》(1966)的拍攝是當年韓湘寧的藝術家好友席德進剛從美國回來,「我就跟他說,明天我想拍個東西,你就一大早6點鐘來敦化南路跟仁愛路的那個圓環,那時有幾棟比較現代的房子,我們就在那邊碰面。」之後韓湘寧就租了個三輪車,準備了幾個膠卷,請席德進繞著圓環跟著三輪車跑,8釐米攝影機時前時後、時左時右地緊隨,正好跑到上班時間,逐漸被趕著上班的摩托車淹沒。而席德進當時身上直橫條的服裝,跟一路跑步的情境形成有趣的對比。

1967年韓湘寧去了紐約,也用影像記錄了許多紐約早期的蘇荷區(SOHO)景物,影像在他的創作中一直扮演著重要的角色。年屆80的他,至今仍在台北、紐約與雲南大理的工作室,用影像持續記錄著三地的日出與日落,並想用新的輸出方式來進行創作。

從充滿社會關懷的《劉必稼》(陳耀圻,1967),到家庭溫馨的《延》(莊靈,1966),以及純藝術創作的《今日開幕》(韓湘寧,1965),不同題材、不同形式,卻在同一個年代中醞釀與綻放,正如策展人林木材所說:「很多人會想說紀錄片可能會很嚴肅,或是很悲慘,但是我覺得就是不要預設這麼多,只要知道要看哪部片,用你的直覺來感受就好。」

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英文

Documentaries of the 1960s

Ivan Chen /photos courtesy of Chuange Kung-ju /tr. by Robert Green

Documentary films flourished in 1960s Taiwan. The films focused on such themes as family life and the routines of city dwellers, and often played out against a backdrop of the social issues of the time. What kind of era was it? What was on the minds of the directors of that day? Let us explore these questions and survey a decade of Taiwanese documentaries with Wood Lin, program director of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF), celebrated photographer ­Chuang Ling, and artist Han ­Hsiang-ning.

 


The pioneering documentaries of the 1960s, in fact, set the stage for a boom in documentary filmmaking in the years after the lifting of martial law in 1987.

Reality’s many faces

Just what defines a documentary? Definitions and opinions vary from person to person. According to Wood Lin, “reality” can have many faces, and docu­men­tary filmmakers are people who attempt to reflect those realities from their own perspectives.    

Lin was particularly impressed by a documentary screened at Cinéma du Réel, a French film festival, which was made entirely without a camera. The documentary was made from screenshots of Google Street View captured on a computer, and it examined the nostalgia of a young Spanish director who had been forced to leave home.

Today’s documentaries also include animated films that pair the voices of interview subjects with animated images. This technique allows a director to capture a subject’s “reality” even when it is impractical to film the subject or if the person doesn’t want to appear on camera. As long as the films incorporate documentary elements, whether through images, sound, or even highly personal sensory experiences, they can expand the possibilities of documentary filmmaking.

Documentary’s golden decade

From the 1950s to the mid-1960s, the mainstay of Taiwanese documentary cinema was government-sponsored fare. Although these educational films recorded some aspects of life in Taiwan, they failed to capture the actual lives of common people. In 1967 Richard Yao-chi Chen took an entirely new approach in Liu Pi-chia, a film that told the story of a military veteran working on the construction of a dam in Feng­tian, Hua­lien County. The director examines the conditions of the veteran’s life and attitudes through a series of interviews. Chen’s socially conscious approach and his examination of the life of a toiling everyman caused a sensation in the art world. It was the first Taiwanese documentary to employ this modernist approach.

No discussion of documentary filmmaking in the 1960s would be complete without mentioning Theater Quarterly, the first issue of which was published on January 1, 1965. The Tai­pei-based magazine focused on contemporary avant-garde film and theater.

It introduced important periods of Western theater and cinema, from ancient Greek tragedy to French New Wave directors like François Truffaut and Alain Resnais and films like The Virgin Spring (1960) by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. It also introduced the public to important directors and screenwriters of that influential artistic period, including Richard Chen, Chiu Kang-­chien (aka Yau Kong-kin), Li Chi-shan, and ­Huang Hua-­cheng.

The 1960s was a wellspring for all kinds of modern art in Taiwan. Aside from film and theater, the period saw the publication of Modern Literature, a pioneering literary journal, and the rise of the Fifth Moon Group of modernist painters. Cross-­disciplinary influences became something of a hallmark of the period. The writers Chen Ying­zhen and Liu Da­ren, for example, also acted in Theater Quar­terly’s experimental film version of Waiting for Godot. The magazine’s influence also spread to Hong Kong when celebrated Hong Kong writer Xi Xi was invited to act as the editor of its ninth issue. The experience inspired her to make The Milky Way (1968). Her brother at the time was working at a TV news station, and Xi Xi collected discarded newsreel footage and then reedited it into an alternative record of the times.

Theater Quarterly also influenced Long Sih-­liang’s 1967 documentary Getting Ready for the Festival. Although the short film is only five minutes long, it reveals the activities of ordinary people preparing for the Lunar New Year festival. It was featured in Theater Quarterly’s second film exhibition, held the same year.

The publication  influenced numerous other works too: ­Chang Chao-tang’s documentary Modern Poetry Exhibition (1966) features the work of ­Huang Hua-­cheng, Long Sih-­liang, and ­Huang Yong-song, who all participated in the exhibition that is captured in the film. ­Huang ­Hua-cheng’s stage play The Prophet was directed by Richard Chen, who adopted a highly experimental approach. Pai ­Ching-jui’s work showed a debt to Neorealism after he returned from studying in Italy. In A Morning in Tai­pei (1964), the filmmaker records the sights and sounds of Tai­pei at dawn, including the crowds, the buildings, and the urban ambiance. In an age better known for popular Huang­mei Opera films and the melodramas of the author ­Chiung Yao, these experimental works opened up an entirely new mode of cinematic expression. 

The films of Chuang Ling

In the 1960s, ­Chuang Ling was working as a photographer, director, and screenwriter. In his free time he would capture daily life by filming his own relatives. “In those days I had just started working at Taiwan Television and the movie cameras we had were still the 16-mm spring-wound type with no sound,” says ­Chuang Ling. “I used my own money to buy film to make Life Continued [1966].”

Chuang recorded the daily routines of a pregnant woman (his wife) from the time she got up and took the bus to work until she got off work and did the grocery shopping. He created a faithful record, forgoing makeup, lighting and sound, and using only the natural movements of the subject.

Shouldering the camera, he walked along a low wall with a drainage ditch on one side, filming his wife’s every step. He had to make sure he was as steady as possible to avoid affecting the image quality, while adjusting his lens for long, medium, short, and close-up shots. In this way, he was able to complete the film all on his own.

Richard Chen later put together a soundtrack for the film from American pop music, creating a soothing ambiance. The warmth of the film’s atmosphere combined with the anticipation of welcoming a new life into the world perhaps exceeded even the director’s original hopes for the film.

Chuang’s My Newborn Baby (1967) picks up the story from the child’s birth until her first birthday. It features a montage of pictures taken on the mother and daughter’s monthly outings. The dialogue, written by ­Huang Hua-­cheng, is written on cards and presented visually in the film. Unlike Life Continued, the film is meticulously scripted. Through a child’s curi­ous eyes, the audience sees the economic transformation of Taiwan from an agricultural society to a modern urban landscape.

Han Hsiang-ning’s Today and Run

Han ­Hsiang-ning is a member of the Fifth Moon Group of modernist painters and no stranger to crossing the boundaries between painting and other visual arts. Overcoming the limitations of an artists’ medium or tools is an endless source of creative inspiration for Han.

He believes that art is a personal record of life’s aesthetics, and the 1960s was a formative period for the development of his concept of free thinking.

“I thought I ought to make a title sequence,” Han recalls thinking while he was still working as an art designer at an advertising agency. “While I was working I came across the words jin ri kai mu (‘opens today’). It was a piece of photo­type­set text for a newspaper ad.” Han photo­graphed the slogan and liked how it looked in reverse. This became the opening title of ­Today (filmed in 1965).

He had taken his camera to the seaside at Ye­liu, where he found a discarded ­headless ­female mannequin by the roadside. He tossed it into the sea, where it bobbed up and down with the waves. The figure at times appeared like a sculpture floating with the ebb and flow of the sea, sometimes disappearing for a time, hidden by the waves. One could say that the artistic import of the work lies in its depiction of youthful desire for the female body being cleansed by the sea, or simply in the power and beauty of the waves washing over the mannequin as it rests on the beach. The film produced a record of the beauty that Han had experienced in his life.  

Han’s film Run (1966) was made with the help of his friend Shiy De-jinn, an artist who had just returned from living overseas. “I told him that I wanted to shoot in the morning and asked him to meet me at 6 a.m. at the traffic circle at the intersection of Dun­hua South Road and Ren’ai Road,” Han recalls.

Han hired a pedicab from which he filmed Shiy as the latter ran laps around the traffic circle. As the morning rush hour built, Shiy gradually became lost in a sea of motor scooters, and the sight of him running in his striped shirt provided an interesting visual contrast with the surrounding traffic.

Now in his 80s, Han still works in his studios, located in Tai­pei, New York, and Dali, a city in mainland China’s Yun­nan Province. Every day he films the sunrise and sunset in whichever of the three locations he happens to be in. He hopes to use the stream of images to create a new film.  

The 1960s saw a flourishing of creativity in documentary filmmaking that focused on varied subject matter represented in diverse artistic forms. The decade produced socially conscious films like Richard Chen’s Liu Pi-chia, touching domestic dramas like ­Chuang Ling’s Life Continued, and purely artistic creations like Han ­Hsiang-ning’s Today.                 

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