I got an email about a film screening that was to be held at my university’s drama department. It was scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon. I lecture on Tuesday afternoons. I think it is exactly because I lecture on Tuesday afternoons that almost every audition I have been to this year has been on a Tuesday. Even the day I worked for a television advert was on a Tuesday. With the craziness of Krêkvars the week before and shuffling my classes I replied to the email that I would love to attend, but my job is a more permanent fixture that I would like to keep.
A reply came from my study supervisor that there would be another film screening of the same film that evening at 7 and would I be able to attend it? Another email came through saying I could bring a plus one if I would like to. Luckily I have a permanent fixture for just such a situation. As my Plus One had lived in Taipei in Taiwan for 4 years and the email mentioned that the Taipei Liaison Office was to be involved in the screening I asked if he would like to accompany me. He seemed interested and I replied that I would like to take Plus One along with me. I was then asked for my full name and that of Plus One. Apparently “Plus One” would not suffice. Full names were sent through, and confirmed and I didn’t think about it again.
As I had lectured on Tuesday afternoon I was looking, what I assumed to be, decent enough for a filming screening with fellow drama students. However, when I arrived at said film screening I was greeted by women in dress suits and heels, foreign dignitaries (quite literally as the film is Taiwanese in origin) in suits and the Production manager of University of Pretoria Arts looking very glamorous and elegant in a long red coat and spangled chandelier earrings. I walked up to my study supervisor, dressed in a tie and a smart coat to keep the cold front at bay:
“You could really have told me there was a dress code”.
I was wearing a loud pair of silver and black snakeskin leggings with a pair of high boots and a white long sleeve T-shirt and not a slick of makeup. And by that I mean not even coverstick, or lip gloss. And to top the look off, my large lime green basket with coloured flowers and emblazoned with “Ile Maurice” on the side in dedication to its country of origin where I had bought it on holiday in December. Luckily, because of the cold I had a grabbed a furry coat, which would do the trick. I quickly buttoned it up to hide the T-shirt, but the silver snakeskin would not be hidden, nor would it stand down. Luckily Plus One was dressed more appropriately.
What transpired, despite my inappropriate wardrobe was indeed a lovely evening. As I had been there in the evening with the hoi polloi instead of in the afternoon with the rest of us students there was fantastic red wine and quality finger snacks before the film.
Now, I do need to say something about the film screened on Tuesday evening. The film we saw was Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale by director Wei Te-Sheng (when I had informed Plus One of the title of the film he asked me if the film dealt with homosexual warriors). The two and half hour version that I was privileged to see was indeed fantastic. Even more so when I learned that the film is now being showed at the various film festivals around the world (it is not to be seen on our general circuit) and had already won many accolades. The film itself deals with the history of the little-known Japanese occupation of Taiwan between 1895 and 1945 and the revolts which this occupation (which the film depicts as quite brutal) inspired. In my opinion, it is a superbly made film, especially as we learned from the director afterwards that most of the cast were not professional actors.
After the screening we allowed a Q and A with the director via a translator. And as Plus One can speak Mandarin I asked him to ask the director if he wouldn’t mind if I had a photo taken of the two of us. He didn’t, and after the camera flashed my study supervisor followed suit. I have never been one to by shy of asking such things, even in my silver snakeskin leggings.
I phoned my mom a day later: "Mom, you won't believe. The first time in my life I'm at an international film screening with the director and some of the cast present and I'm wearing silver snakeskin leggings" To contextualize, my mom hates the culture of couture, and the Red-Carpet Hollywood that cares more about who you’re wearing than actually looking the part…or for that matter looking good. Her reply: "I couldn't be more proud"
|Myself and director Wei Te-Sheng|