Private Project

Faces of a Taiwanese Opera Actress

Taiwanese opera actress Chang Meng-I faced an important turning point in her life in 2018: her mentor, National Living Treasure of Taiwanese Opera actress Liao Chiung-Chih, appointed her as the head of the "Shintrun Taiwanese Opera Troupe". While playing various characters on stage, Meng-I also plays different roles in her daily life: troupe leader, actress, teacher, wife, mother. In addition to the highlights of the troupe's performances, there are four original Taiwanese Opera songs specially composed for the film to convey Meng-I’s state of mind in the face of major transitions in her life. Meng-I’s story tells of the different faces and challenges a woman has to juggle both at work and home, and how she finds self-affirmation through the challenges.

  • Jean-Robert THOMANN
  • Garance Huang
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  • Runtime:
    1 hour 25 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 3, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
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  • Language:
    Mandarin Chinese
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Distribution Information
  • Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation
    Country: Taiwan
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Jean-Robert THOMANN

Jean-Robert Thomann is a French-Taiwanese filmmaker who directed a number of films related to Taiwan. He has directed the feature film “Short Story at the West Gate” (2016), released both in Taiwan and China, the short film “The Taste of Ginger” (2021), the documentary “Naluwan” (2013), etc.
In 2018, Jean-Robert won the Prix franco-taïwanais. In 2021, he got a master's degree from the Department of Motion Picture at the National Taiwan University of Arts.

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Director Statement

Taiwanese Opera is a traditional and beloved performing art in Taiwan. However, it is becoming unfamiliar to younger generations as they are attracted to various new audio-visual media. It would be interesting if we can introduce the behind-the-scenes stories so the audience understand Taiwanese Opera better and show more support for this art form.

Shintrun Taiwanese Opera Troupe, founded by the National Living Treasure of Taiwanese Opera actress Liao Chiung-chih, is an iconic milestone in Taiwan’s traditional theater and has also sparked my interest in Taiwanese Opera.

In 2017, in order to explore the origins of Taiwanese Opera, I conducted field research in Yilan, where I had the opportunity to meet Chang Meng-I, who was already a member of the Shintrun Taiwanese Opera Troupe at that time. In 2018, when I learned that Liao Chiung-chih had decided to pass on the Shintrun Taiwanese Opera Troupe to Chang Meng-I, selecting her as the new leader of the troupe, I was deeply moved and began planning to document Chang Meng-I's challenges in facing her new role and balancing performance and inheritance through film.

The goal of this film is to share a vibrant image of Taiwanese Opera through Chang Meng-I's life story at various stages and her efforts to play various roles such as a female performer, troupe leader, wife, and mother. Under Chang Meng-I's leadership and training, the troupe's energetic new generation brings a fresh look and creativity to the beloved Taiwanese Opera.