The TV program Million Stars was launched in 2007. It immediately caught the attention of audiences in Taiwan, and stirred up “star fever” on the island. It also became the highest-rated television program in Taiwan’s history. As the show continued, the fan base of Million Stars gr...(Read more)
The TV program Million Stars was launched in 2007. It immediately caught the attention of audiences in Taiwan, and stirred up “star fever” on the island. It also became the highest-rated television program in Taiwan’s history. As the show continued, the fan base of Million Stars grew. In the second season of the show, more than 15,000 competitors of diverse backgrounds participated in its auditions. Among the competitors were 17-year-old high school girls, experienced bar singers, fashion models, aboriginal girls, flight attendants, students studying abroad, and so on. “Star fever” has since become a social phenomenon, inspiring producer Lee Khan and director Hsu Ming-Chun to document the contestants’ glamour on stage, the enormous efforts they made in order to shine on stage, and their lives behind the scenes.
There is a long history of televised singing contests in Taiwan. Part of Taiwanese popular culture, the singing competition shows had their past production cycles. Million Stars is only their latest incarnation. Coincidently, the time when the show gained popularity among the audience was also the famous Taiwanese baseball player Wang Chien-Ming joined the New York Yankees baseball team. The latter was an event that caught the attention of baseball fans globally, and stirred a wave of nationalist patriotic fever in Taiwan. Interestingly, Wang Chien-Ming happened to be the subject of director Hsu Ming-Chun’s previous documentary film. In fact, the fixation of people in Taiwan on both baseball stadiums and singing studios can be seen as a collective response to the social turmoil caused by political scandals (in which Taiwan’s then President was involved). This collective fixation on stars also resembles the escapism of the audience when Hollywood musicals were in vogue in the U.S. during the Great Depression. Though relatively conservative, the positive and bright-sided values presented in Million Stars—such as sincerity, honor, the pay-off of hard work for ordinary folks, familial affection, genuine friendship, and self-discipline—stood in sharp contrast to the political corruption of the time. Additionally, the director’s objective approach, which refrains from using voice-overs for narration and lets the events grow themselves (rather than, say, trying to set the tone and direction for events that are unfolding), also opens up the film for contingent changes. For instance, a singer’s off-stage life story brings to highlight the issues of the “city versus country” divide, as well as the contrast between the life of urban Han majority and that of Taiwan’s aboriginal minorities. Another example is how the challengers’ diverse backgrounds (gender, class, or ethnicity) can be seen as a snapshot of contemporary Taiwan as a multicultural society.
|DVD source：||R.O.C. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.|
|Taiwan Academies, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. please contact Embassies, Representative Offices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C.|
|Subtitle：||Chinese, English, French, Spanish|
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