http://www.sina.com.cn 2010年03月22日 15:12 21世纪英文报
WE want to try a little of everything when we're young. We always think we've got nothing to lose. Then, sometimes, before we know it, we're already on a path where there's no turning back。
That's what Monga, the latest film by Taiwanese director Doze Niu, is about. The title refers to one of Taipei's oldest areas. It was quite well-known for its iniquity before a cleanup in the 1990s. The film is bathed in nostalgia for a time (the mid-1980s) when brotherhood, small mafias and the seedy backstreets of the area were poignant "symbols". It tells a story of friendship, conflict and betrayal among a group of five teenage gangsters。
It may, more or less, remind us of the Hong Kong classic Teddyboy series, where things like street fights, visits to brothels, and a swearing of brotherhood ceremony are indispensable. But, while Monga has lots of gangsters, it's not a gangster film. It's an honest film about being young, and already something of a box office miracle for a Taiwanese film (40 million yuan, a month after its release)。
The lead character Mosquito (Mark Chao) "goes astray" and accidentally enters the world of gangsters at a young age. At first he can't understand why people just keep fighting, even killing each other, and why loyalty always comes first, rather than justice or meaning。
Another main character, Monk (Ethan Juan，阮经天)， is "a fighter with a brain" who betrays his group later. So, the film's doomed to have a sad, bloody ending-also a beautiful one. Right before Mosquito dies in the end, blood in the air becomes fluttering cherry blossoms, which he's always dreamed of seeing。
A film like this shows all the subtle emotions and sentiments of a group of gangsters. And, instead of just showing audiences what gangsterdom is like, Monga digs deeper into how meanings of loyalty, friendship and brotherhood shift for the five young gangsters, as they come to see how cruel the world can be。
Youth films have become popular in Taiwan in recent years. Some say that Taiwanese films are undergoing a revival lately, with several local productions doing big at the box office, and receiving good reviews. In addition to Monga, there're Cape No 7 , Hear Me , ORZBoyz and Winds of September. Most of them are about young people, especially the latter two。
“一直以来，年轻人题材的影片在当地都很受欢迎，” 《囧男孩》和《艋舺》的监制李烈在接受Yahoo Taiwan采访时表示。她还说，观众很喜欢这类电影，因为他们能轻易抓住并感受这些角色以及他们的故事，很多情节都曾在日本动漫中出现过。
"Stories about youth have always been a favorite of local film makers," Lee Lieh, producer of ORZBoyz and Monga, told Yahoo Taiwan. She said audiences love this type of film because they can identify easily and feel connected to the characters and their stories, many of which appeared earlier in Japanese anime form。
"An adapted script and all-star cast will always get teenagers who fantasize about a comic book life to buy tickets," Lee said. "And for today's adults, those film can cause a certain nostalgia because the stories are true to life."
In other words, it's the adolescent confusion and the exposure to the real world that make youthful days so special。
As a voice-over near the end of Monga has it, "The grass flutters in the same direction as the wind blows. When we're young, we always think that we're the wind. But after we're beaten black and blue, that's when we know we're just the grass."
There can come a day when the fearlessness and recklessness of youth fade away, but the memory can live forever。