Taiwanese actress Ivy Chen played a cute 20-year old girl in the popular manga-based Skip Beat, but she has a very different role in in her new movie, Paradise in Service, which has been selected as the opening film at the Busan International Film Festival in Korea. Tickets are sold out as fans are eager to see her in a entirely new breakthrough image. (Caution: mature content)

The movie is a period drama focused on what happened on the Kinmen islands during the Cold War era between Taiwan and China after the Nationalists lost to the Communists for control of the mainland. Many of the soldiers stationed on the island were isolated from the main Taiwan island and were also homesick for the families they left behind in mainland China. The Taiwanese military allowed legalized brothels to service the lonely soldiers. The cast includes top Taiwanese actors Ethan Ruan (Fated To Love You) and Ivy Chen, as well as Chinese actors Chen Jianbin and Wan Qian.

The story is fictional, but the military-contracted brothels did exist. Although the movie is based on a subject that used to be taboo in Taiwan, it received cooperation from Taiwan's military during filming. The cooperation stopped when director Doze Niu sneaked a Chinese cameraman into a restricted military base using the ID card of a Taiwanese (Republic of China) citizen. Although director Niu has admitted the violation and formally apologized to the public, he faced severe criticism from Taiwanese people, and the military cooperation stopped. The movie is currently also forbidden to be shown in the military. Niu's conviction and punishment is not decided yet, but he could be facing a prison term.

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Nevertheless, the quality of the movie has been highly praised for portraying the lives of the soldiers and their encounters with the prostitutes at the brothels with authentic emotions and heart. A Variety article says, "Niu (Monga, Love) treats the story's tragic underpinnings with a delicate and mildly sentimental touch, speaking volumes with gorgeously evocative period ambiance."

Thirty-one-year-old Ivy Chen plays a prostitute in Paradise In Service. She wanted to play this role as a challenge to her acting skills, but she also quipped that she hardly wore any clothes throughout the movie. For her performance, she has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the prestigious Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. Paradise In Service also received nominations in these other categories: Best Supporting Actor, Music, Makeup, and Artistic Direction.

(posters: sina, gigacircle)

(photo: liberty times)