Article by Jazmin Justo
On Thursday, June 16, the MoMA held America’s first retrospective exhibition on Taiwan’s most respected cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing. Having produced over 90 films in three decades of his filming career, Mark Lee Ping-Bing’s style of cinematography ads the beauty of natural lighting to all his films. The curator of the exhibition, La Frances Hui, describes his lighting style as, “…it captures the light as we the viewer see it and captures the depths of darkness as we experience it…”. Mark Lee Ping-Bing had studied lighting when he first worked as a photographer in Taiwan. Having learned all the advanced lighting technique and technology, he opted for simplicity in his own work as a behind the scenes photographer. The manager from TECO expressed her gratitude for MoMA for featuring Mark Lee Ping-Bing’s work and granting him the merit he deserves as a leading figure in Taiwan’s New Cinema realism. Mark Lee Ping-Bing gave a humble, comical speech veggie starting the film. He expressed his gratitude to MoMA and TECO for having the exhibition and granting his family a unique opportunity to be reunited. He gave brief synopsis of the film before the screening, “The film is about a guy who falls in love with a girl but then it’s not really her. So the movie is like a mystery. Since its at the Yangtze river, it’s like half dream, half truth. The movie is long and hard to follow so it’s ok if you close your eyes because you can be in the movie too! Then when you wake-up, you’ll see a beautiful scenery! Enjoy!”
The film “Crosscurrent” was recently screened at the 2016 Berlinale Film Festival and Mark Lee Ping-Bing, won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution. “Crosscurrent” was indeed long, mysterious, and intriguing. The protagonist Chun, works as a fishermen and gets a job to driver a ton of baby fish to Yinbin port. When he departed, he finds a box of ashes with a book full of poems labeled by port city. He loves a girl named An Lu, but his constant traveling keeps him distant from her. At each port he goes, he keeps meeting her and seeing different parts of her life. She also has the same book of poems and undergoes many obstacles to be with Chun. The panorama of the Yangtze River and mountains makes the story surreal and dream-like. One of the more stunning shots are of the sunrise over the Yangtze River, the Three Gorge’s Dam, the pagoda, and waves of the river. The story is complex with itss themes of existentialism and Buddha’s teachings with the strange time warp that occurs throughout the film.
After the film, Mark Lee Ping-Bing and his family took photos with the audience.