Many of the 200-plus surviving Taiwanese-language films are being made available and restored. We have selected 11 English-subtitled films, 7 of which have been restored by the Taiwan Film Institute since our last edition, plus 4 contemporary shots films made to promote awareness of Taiwanese-language cinema. The restored films include a focus on two of Taiwanese-languange cinema’s most famous directors – Xin Qi and Lin Tuanqiu. Our venue partners have selected from them and designed their programmes around them.
The Husband’s Secret
丈夫的秘密 | Lin Tuan-qiu | 1960 | 102 mins
Childless Tshui-Bi tried to help her single mother friend Le-Hun. What she doesn’t know is that her husband used to be Le-Hun’s boyfriend. When the two former lovers meet again, they get involved again and Le-Hun becomes pregnant. Tshui-Bi’s reaction when she finds out the truth is unexpected. Adapted from a Japanese novel, Lin’s film focuses on women and defies patriarchal moralizing. The only Taiwanese film to make the Hong Kong Film Critics Society list of the top two hundred Chinese-language films, it was praised for its Orson Welles-like use of depth of field shots and long takes.
Encounter at the Station
難忘的車站 | Xin Qi | 1965 | 113 mins
Impoverished schoolgirl Thsui-giok bumps into Gok-liong at the station one day. They fall in love. But his wealthy parents oppose the marriage and force him to marry another. However, when their paths cross again, their passion overcomes them. Gok-liong sets up an alternative household with Thsui-giok, until his wife finds out. Confucian morals are exposed in this very modern melodrama of young people struggling against corrupt and selfish elders.
May 13th, Night of Sorrow
五月十三傷心夜 | Lin Tuan-qiu | 1965 | 97 mins
Two sisters fall in love with the same man. The eldest sings in a nightclub to support the youngest, who is embarrassed by her sister’s profession. At the nightclub, she is harassed by a lascivious businessman, whose jealous mistress also blames her. Steamy passions result in murder amidst the jazzy nightlife atmosphere. Surprisingly, perhaps, despite all the odds stacked against them, director Lin Tuan-qiu places his faith in female solidarity.
六個嫌疑犯 | Lin Tuan-qiu | 1965 | 109 mins
A private eye spies on his ex-lover, who is the PA for a steel company chairman. He various people’s dirty secrets and decides to start blackmailing them. But when his ex is found dead, he starts to investigate the suspects. This noir adaptation of a Japanese film was never released in the 1960s, but now we have the chance to appreciate this edgy and disturbing depiction of Taipei’s seamy underside during the Martial Law era.
Tarzan and the Treasure
泰山寶藏 | Liang Zhe-fu | 1965 | 83 mins
During World War Two, two Taiwanese soldiers serving in the Japanese army observe the Japanese bury a treasure in Malaysia. Many years later, their descendants piece together the treasure map and start searching. But the Macau triads are after the treasure, too, and the Taiwanese Tarzan has to fight in the Malay jungle…
Foolish Bride, Naïve Bridegroom
三八新娘憨子婿 | Xin Qi | 1967 | 101 mins
A besotted couple plan to marry with both families’ blessings. But when it’s time to formalize the engagement they discover that thirty years earlier the boy’s father and the girl’s mother were romantically linked. As new love blossoms, an old love is rekindled. This zany 1960s romantic comedy defies traditional conventions.
The Rice Dumpling Vendors
燒肉粽 | Xin Qi | 1969 | 84 mins
In a film originally called “The Underwear Scandal,” a jealous husband throws his wife out after finding a man’s boxer shorts in her bed. Of course, she is blameless, but will he ever find out? And how will he fend for his children now that his mistress has swindled him out of his money? A cautionary tale of moral crisis amongst the nouveau riche.
Grandmother’s Small Talk
阿嬤的秘密 | Lin Shih-ching | 2019 | 25 mins
A young filmmaker is shooting his film-essay at home. He interviews his grandma who’s going to attend her estranged husband funeral, meeting the long-abandoned son. The flashback sequences are extracts from Lin Tuan-qiu’s The Husband’s Secret.
隨片登台 | Lin Ya-Yu | 2019 | 20 mins
Director A-Shun is devoted to capturing the golden era of Taiwanese-language cinema of the 1960s in his new film. But his own budget constraints seem to capture the era in ways he never wanted to. Can A-Shun also develop the “can do” spirit of the Taiwanese-language cinema and overcome his obstacles?
燒肉粽2019 | Chen Ting-Ning | 2019 | 23 mins
Having finally paid off her family debt at the age of 42, Xiuzhen goes to the station, ready to embark on a new life. But she finds herself mysteriously unable to leave. She takes a reading with a spiritual medium. Gradually, Xiuzhen realizes that the black-and-white movie images that haunt her and her relationship with her father are part of a past life…
Like Father, Like Daughter
前世情人的情人 | Chris Leon Siew Hong | 2019 | 19 mins
Wen-te, the hero of the film Foolish Bride, Naive Bridegroom, is now a widower. But he is still being harassed by his female neighbours who are trying to marry their son to his daughter Jo-tung. She lives with her girlfriend, but does not dare to tell her father. He finally discovers the truth about them. But he has a little secret himself.