In 2012, six indiscriminate killing took place in Taiwan, while five campus shooting incidents occurred in the United States, and caused over 100 deaths. Almost all the killers were young people who felt despair about their future and were marginalised by society. They chose to retaliate against or seek help from their society. These incidents remind the public that it needs to pay more attention to these people. However, because the majority of the perpetrators have been diagnosed with mental illness, this has caused the public to further discriminate against and be afraid of people with mental illness.
Penned by Shih-Yuan Lu, winner of Best Screenplay in the Golden Bell Awards for The Kite Soaring and Long Day's Journey into Light, The World Between Us starts from the verdict in a random killing case. It depicts the attitudes and emotional twists and turns of the families and other involved families, such as the victims, the perpetrator, people with mental illness, the psychologist, the lawyer, and the media. Following in the footsteps of the story's characters, after we enter their daily lives, we realise that the unknown and distant perpetrators or people with mental illness portrayed in the news are often colleagues, friends and the family members who are around us. “In the beginning, I only wanted to write about the perspectives of the participants in a certain high-profile case. But the more I wrote, the more I felt that we're actually participants in this. None of us want to see regrets and pain again. But can we prevent it from happening again?”—this was the original intent of the screenwriter. In the story, she keeps asking who actually causes so-called evil.
Director Chun-Yang Lin was deeply moved after reading the script, as the stories depicted had actually affected him. For the filming of Fight for Justice, a documentary about four human rights lawyers, he and Attorney Hsien-Chih Chiu went to a detention centre. Standing in the lawyer meeting room, Lin listened to Attorney Chiu's recollection about how one of his clients who received the death penalty talked and laughed with him in this room, but then was executed without warning a few short hours later.
Lin's cousin lived under the same roof and grew up with him, but was diagnosed with schizophrenia due to academic pressure in high school. His family thought it was just a case of adolescent rebellion, and as a result, the treatment was delayed. After the onset of his schizophrenia, his condition fluctuated over a decade. Looking at him now, he looks like a soul who is struck in a dreamland, wandering around day after day. He always thought that people had been able to understand the signs of mental disorders and opportunities for treatment sooner, perhaps now he would still have a healthy brother.
These experiences gave him strong views about how to make this film The World Between Us. "Addressing the seemingly hardcore topic of an indiscriminate killing, I think that I should refine the essence of the story and make a healing film to remind people who watch it that we should remember that love is always with us when we're surrounded by immeasurable sadness.”
Actors actively went after the roles they desired after reading the script. Apart from playing the roles of family members, in order to perfect the characters' professional lives, all of the actors threw in themselves into relevant training and practicing.
Kang Jen Wu, winner of the Golden Bell Awards for best actor, plays the role of a legal aid lawyer. He often listened in a courtroom before filming and spent time with the legal advisor's family. When the series was released, many audiences felt the strong magnetism of the lawyer he plays just from seeing Kang Jen Wu’s back.
Alyssa Chia, who was absent from Taiwanese films for 15 years, plays the role of the TV station supervisor. The production team especially arranged her to visit a TV station for training, and invested millions of NT dollars in building a brand-new news department set, hoping to accurately present the news production and broadcasting challenges faced by the news media in Taiwan. Producer Yu-Ling Lin revealed that, in order to accurately present the workplace situation of Taiwan's news media, the team invested nearly three million dollars in the construction of the 1,000-square meter SBC News Station. SBC is the abbreviation of Sense Broadcasting Co. The idea for the name “Pinwei (taste)” is the screenwriter Shih-Yuan Lu's expectation for current news media's approach to presenting the news.
In order to replicate SBC, the station logo, news opening and the images of news interviews were all designed to look real. Every internal part of the station was meticulously designed and built by the production team. The art and props team even included the reports' and the director's shift schedule form in the details. Moving at a brisk pace, the film not only narrates the raging battlefield the news media has to face for the sake of viewing rate, but also presents the ridiculous dilemmas, such as fake news and overflowing online news, that news media workers have to confront.
In the film, James Wen plays Alyssa Chia's husband, a news media worker. The husband and wife grow apart due to the pain and their different attitudes toward work. People who have watched the film exclaimed that they saw a different James Wen after seeing his tender yet firm performance. His charisma in this role surpasses all of his previous performances.
Other solid actors, including Tracy Chou, Allison Lin, JC Lin, Yu Chen, Pets Tseng, MingShuai Shih, Cherry Hsieh, and Jian Chang, all have to make major decisions and find their own places in their lives. The audience will join with the characters in finding their way out, and make direct contact with the good and evil within people. They'll experience and put themselves in the same shoes, and then come to the conclusion that we're all implicated in causing pain in the face of similar incidents.
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