IN THEIR TEENS - The 2021 Golden Horse Best Short Documentary Winner《度日》— 記錄著農田與鄉間巷口的日常

Updated: Jul 23


English written by Li Ji, edited by Chen Yi-Tsun

中文:Jessica Kuo | 編輯:陳奕村


IN THEIR TEENS

Director Lin Yu-en's debut short film, In Their Teens, has won various prestigious awards, including Best Documentary Short Film at the 2021 Golden Horse Awards, as well as Grand Prize and Best Music at the Golden Harvest Awards (equivalent to FlickerFest in Australia). With a background as a photojournalist, director Lin has years of training, enabling him to capture the moments even in a splinter of an encounter with the subjects.


Around 2017, Yu-en was conducting a project, In Their Teens, In Their Ruin, for a non-profit media organisation, The Reporter, which focuses on and is highly reputed for in-depth reporting and investigation of social issues in Taiwan. In this project, they interviewed and documented a group of teenagers, returning to their homes after becoming discharged from juvenile residential institutions.


Teenagers in this documentary had yet to be 18 years old at the time of their stories being reported. Spraying pesticides on crop fields has been one of the ways they can earn a living. Regardless of the diverse range of everyday struggles facing this group of teenagers, they are the victims of social injustice towards family dysfunction and live in the ruins of their youth and life. Most of them are or will become dropouts; the education system, meant to provide support to students in need, has failed to come up with effective resolutions to their impoverished living conditions even though witnessing their plight. Most of the time, the children face the reality of overwhelming pressure alone, due to inadequacies and deficiency of social welfare support.

IN THEIR TEENS

The adolescents drive their trucks through the countryside, talking about money and delivering joss papers (also known as incense papers burned as money in tribute to the deceased or deity) to bereaved households for their deceased. Selecting the funeral as the opening scene and the burning of incense papers as the conclusion forms a strong contrast with the young age of a 19-year-old. Following the funeral, the documentary captures Tudou’s singing, “Many times, in the face of brushoffs and scorn, I never gave up my dream.” Then, Tudou tells the director, “There’s nothing more to film. I have nothing to do now. This is my life. I am doing nothing. I’m uncomfortable with your questions. I don’t know how to answer you.”


These young people would only like at least to sustain their lives with a minimum amount of food to eat and simple clothing to wear. They must exploit their young and productive bodies to work for jobs, such as spraying pesticides, transporting crops, and delivering the joss papers, demanding heavy labour, and putting their health at high risk. Their exposure to workplaces with a higher risk of damaging one’s health and life is in search of and exchange for more fortune to better support themselves and their families. Ironically, despite delivering millions in “money,” joss papers are not “real money” for daily use. It is the conflict between reality and their dream of making a fortune, causing them to not only spend their days in confusion and hopelessness but also to fritter away their days rather than enjoying their adolescence.


The style of this documentary is calm and objective. Director Lin believes that such an impoverished family background, inherited from generation to generation, should not be the only template for a decedent's life to follow. In editing this documentary, he doesn’t use too much information, hoping that without any prescribed frame, the viewer can understand the confusion of life and the search process facing these teenagers. His training as a photojournalist and the substantial time he spent with the subjects also contributes to more of his freedom in the composition of his shots.

IN THEIR TEENS

At the end of the film, Tudou and his brother go out to “earn big money (make a fortune)” at night by engaging in a kind of illicit business. It is Tudou’s dream of becoming rich, prompting him to take the risk. Then, the film shows an intersection with a flashing red light. When will the red light turn on to warn Tudou about such a risk at the crossroad of his life? And which way should he choose to go? The director's voice-over jumps out to say, “We can wash the car together when I'm back.” To the director, helping Tudou to get rich may be too far away, whereas caring for friends is more practical.

Through constant companionship and understanding, Yu-en has recorded his short period of participation in the lives of these young people. He also feels the uneasiness and changes with which Tudou and his mates are forced to grow up. The plain and natural language of the camera brings the viewer a deeper reflection of the social structure by which lives amongst these teens are impacted. After the shooting is over, life still goes on. What has yet to be captured in the film is their ceaseless caring about each other. This relationship originated from the production of reportage and has now evolved into a connection entailing a more far-reaching meaning.


Being asked, “Has the film ever been considered a feature-length film?” the director answered, “I think that this situation has reached my limit at this stage of being a director, no matter how I deal with it … unless you would have to explore the deeper aspects about this individual, the protagonist's role, or the very dark issues that we’re incapable of making any change.”

IN THEIR TEENS

《度日》— 記錄著農田與鄉間巷口的日常


2017年導演林佑恩在網路媒體《報導者》擔任攝影記者,走入總是容易遭人遺忘的台灣鄉間,針對臺灣青少年流離狀態的深度實況報導。而後集結成《廢墟少年》一書出版。作品中訪問到16、17歲青少年,的成長背景雖略有差異,卻被迫面臨著人人避之唯恐不及的類似命運:父母離世、隔代教養、未成年懷孕等,經常被社會大眾嘲諷的家庭問題。即使輕狂、放蕩不羈的少年們一個個地因為誤觸法網,被送入了政府所部署的安置矯正機構,暫時性地擺脫在外頭可能遭遇任何的困頓,例如:三餐不繼,但收容結束後的復歸之路卻步步維艱。被機構放行回到社會與各自原有的生活後,少年們為生活搏鬥的挑戰才正要的開始。


令人心疼的是,這群能恣意做夢的年紀,青年只求能溫飽度日。別無選擇的生活條件,他們不得不奉上年輕的體魄,從事噴灑農藥、運送作物、搬金紙等高風險的勞力工作。日以繼夜的高工時,混雜在且長期暴露在日曬及農藥噴灑的環境,才剛成年的他們,卻有現著如同成熟壯、老年人臉上那歲月不饒人的滄桑。


成年是否是一種解套?


多年下來導演持續追蹤其中一位青年「土豆」從未成年到成年的生命狀態。

導演說:「土豆以前一直覺得成年後會是一個生命的解套。殊不知其實不是!當他成年後所遇到的狀況,真的是會常常手足無措。那時就有跟他提出是否願意繼續以紀錄片形式拍攝。」這樣的契機讓導演決定從報導記者轉身成紀錄片導演。成功地以首部短片作品《度日》,奪下2021年金穗獎「金穗大獎」與「最佳音樂」及金馬獎最佳紀錄短片。


從一週兩、三次到每天都持著攝影機跟隨土豆。導演說:「我原本以為之前的關係,可以讓這部片拍攝的順利。但卻沒有。當他(土豆)開始意識到何謂拍攝這部片,以及有攝影機夾在我們之間的時候,這所有的一切(關係)都得再重來一次。」透過不斷的理解與磨合,《度日》也紀錄了導演自己走入這些青年生命中的溫柔。誰說拍攝紀錄片時,掌鏡的一定得全然客觀?故事所描繪的內容,僅能止於鏡頭下所凝視與著墨的人、事、物?導演林佑恩打破了這樣的侷限,在《度日》一片中,記錄並呈現出自己在拍攝期間被迫面對的矛盾與糾結:當得知青少年接下來的行程,是一場攸關生死的對決時,理應為局外人的導演是否繼續拍攝?抑或及時介入,以避免悲劇發生?


為了見證這難得一見,並更為貼近土豆一幫人闖蕩江湖的日常場面,導演在紀錄片接近尾聲時,向土豆提出自己能否跟隨的請求。土豆拒絕了,他不確定自己能否安然度過這場或許早已司空見慣的江湖談判;另外,即便對於土豆而言,為了生存而不惜代價衝鋒陷陣日常,早已是熟悉、見怪不怪的家常便飯,他卻無法保證導演的人身安全,不會在接下來可能會發生的衝突中受到波及;他更不想陷導演於不義。就連土豆自個兒也不敢保證接下來的談判不會引爆肢體衝突,他擔心接下來的談判場面若真一觸即發,自己會分身乏術,以至於無法施展任何餘力將導演自生死交關之際中拉出。


遇上任何容易落人口實或是令人進退兩難的生死課題時,導演大可投以冷眼,技巧性地迴避難解的道德習題,避免讓自己觸摸到涉及倫理衝突的燙手山芋;或是選擇性地將可能引發爭議的問題或是素材,自投射現於觀眾眼前的紀錄片敘事中抽離,以淡化身為局外人的導演在拍攝過程中,早已無意間介入他人生活與生命的可能色彩。


就算觀眾無法自紀錄片中得知,土豆一幫人最終是否安然度過這場既是危機又是轉機的人生關卡,但導演揭露自己難以袖手旁觀、置身事外的立場,再次地顯示《度日》紀錄片導演與片中人物及場景的關係,已超越了導演必然不能逾越自己的本分,從局外人越界成為局內人,而局內人非得僅能由土豆一幫人擔綱的傳統劃分。這樣的手法雖非創舉,卻挑戰了觀眾過往對紀錄片導演不能是局內人的單一、扁平想像。唯有跳脫出紀錄片導演僅能被動的紀錄與拍攝,不能主動介入的既定印象與困境,導演與敘事主角及場景所建立出某種深厚的共同革命情感與關係才得以浮現;觀眾也才能察覺,原來映入眼簾的人物、敘事與場景是由土豆一幫人與導演協力交織與創造的作品。

IN THEIR TEENS

代代複製的家庭背景,不應該是生命唯一的解答。


「我一直在思考報導跟紀錄片的差別是什麼?報導是去反映社會的結構、狀況、與體制的問題。然後用這些社會的結構去解答他們的處境,像是解讀他之所以做這個選擇或行動,都是因為他的身世和過往。所以我想用一個圍觀的方式來記錄,讓紀錄片像是一個電影,我們不需要這麼去瞭解這個人的背景、有沒有犯過罪和他當下的狀況是什麼。」

在剪接上運用極少的訊息量,期望觀者能不帶框架的去理解這些青少年對生命的迷惘以及找尋過程。攝影記者的訓練加上朝夕相處的場景,讓導演在畫面構圖上有更大的掌控度,也讓《度日》以更赤裸的視角帶領觀者去領略這樣的生命狀態。


「我覺得紀錄片是可以用電影的方式去思考的,所以在《度日》中,過往只是一個背景,我非常刻意的只給了最基本的資訊而已。透過圍觀的方式,去聽他們說話的情緒,去感受他的行爲,而不是一直要去談議題。對我來說議題在這裡是我不覺得是最重要的。所以我就很刻意地讓它減少。」


每個孩子都有自己的生命


透過不斷的陪伴及理解,導演也記錄了自己走入這些青年生命中的短暫時光。感受他們被迫長大的不安與變化。他跟著這群青年載著準備給往生者的庫錢穿梭在鄉間,也聽著他們開口閉口都談著錢的無奈。這些庫錢就好比青年的困境般,在無人知曉的田間野放,隨著大火灰飛煙滅。如此的對比下,導演選擇了葬禮為開頭及燒紙錢為結尾。暗示著這些命運如同命中注定,每個孩子都有自己的生命。


導演試著成為他們的一份子,一起搬紙錢一起過生活,一起感受困境的發生。也捕捉到他們鬥嘴嬉鬧時,仍舊顯露出幾分稚氣未脫的樣貌。這群剛成年的青少年,揮灑著汗水,為生活為債務為後代奔波,在如此現實的選擇中度日。


不論生活順遂與否都有鏡頭如實的紀錄著。不帶批判的立場,不過多著墨的訊息量,平鋪直述的鏡頭語言反而帶給觀影者更深痛的社會結構反思。拍攝結束後,日子還是要過,鏡頭外沒拍到的是:即使少了拍攝壓力彼此依舊互相關心著,這份緣起於報導的關係又更具深遠的意義了。


與其深究社會結構的權責問題,導演選擇帶領觀眾們深入這群青年的生活,設身處地地去瞭解他們的處境。飽含詩意的畫面卻深刻地描繪出那些情緒的躁動,其中一段青年不停戳破車窗膠帶的行為,不僅是一種宣洩,更像是底層生命對於社會孤離的低鳴。《度日》中所過得日子,是一種無法選擇的生存方式。凝視著這些被社會遺忘的光景,不寄望一個解答,而是讓更多人看見有這樣的青年們在掙扎著,是提醒也是一個警覺。


SCREENING DATES 放映場次

SYD | SUN 7 AUG 1PM @ PARRAMATTA

MEL | SUN 31 JULY 7PM

BRN | SUN 7 AUG 3.30PM