Walking around today we saw banners for the tour of Taiwan International Documentary Festival's (TIDF) all over the city of Hualien. With time for a quick snack before today's screening of '-1287' (INFO), we stopped for an "8 Treasures" dessert, eight kinds of sweetened beans atop of a giant mound of shaved ice. Yum!
Today's screening took place in the Showtime Cinema, where TIDF took over part of one floor of this giant cinema complex. When we arrived, I was extremely honoured to find that it was a full house, with many young people and students in the audience!
Many important questions were raised during the hour-long post-screening discussion. I always cherish these opportunities to receive questions from audiences who have engaged with one of my films, as often it is not until I am asked to explain something in words that I truly come to understand what has only until then been a collection of thoughts in my head. At the same time, however, I must also admit that the sometimes very personal nature of the discussions, especially those after '-1287' can sometimes be quite difficult as they often tend to be focused more on theoretical, existential themes, like life, death and, often, love.
A question near the end of the discussion from a young student in the audience caused me to think about something in the film in a way in which I had never thought of before. She asked if anything about how I thought about love had changed through the making of '-1287'. After pausing for a moment, I said that I felt Kazuko, through providing us with an opportunity to think about our own deaths, inspires us to think about the way in which live. Money and things are not important, she reminds us. What is? Health, family, happiness and love.
As I was speaking, I remembered something Kazuko had revealed in the film. "If only I had been truly loved," she had said, "I could have lived more honestly." As I repeated her words out loud, I suddenly realized something that ran shivers over my entire body. For all of us, the opposite of what Kazuko said is also true: If only I had lived more honestly, I could have been truly loved.
The truth and honesty with which Kazuko shares her story with us before she dies is what allows us to love her. And this is all that she had ever longed for in life.
But how many of us live our lives this honestly, allowing those who try to do so to love us for who we really are?