The Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK and Taiwan Film Institute jointly present “Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema: Recovered and Restored — 2020 Edition”, a symposium and screening tour that will kick off on February 7th and cover 21 cities in 12 countries, including the UK and nations across Continental Europe. Organized by esteemed film scholar Chris BERRY, Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London, and Dr. Ming-Yeh T. RAWNSLEY, Research Associate at the Centre of Taiwan Studies of SOAS University of London, this new event follows the successful 2017 edition, which marked the first time Taiwanese-language films, otherwise known as “taiyupian”, were screened publicly in the UK. The same curatorial team has once again teamed up with the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK and Taiwan Film Institute to promote Taiwan’s classic film culture assets to international audiences and expand Taiwanese-language film research and discourse.

 
▲ Liang Che-fu’s Tarzan and the Treasure (1965)
 

Film experts and scholars participating in the event and the February 8th symposium include Professor Corrado NERI of Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Dr. Wafa GHERMANI of Cinémathèque Française, film scholar Dr. Ming-Yeh T. RAWNSLEY, and Professor Ru-Shou Robert CHEN and Professor Ta-wei CHI of National Chengchi University. The 12-country, 21-city screening tour across the UK and Continental Europe will depart from London and visit major cities across the UK before heading to Helsinki in Finland, Oslo in Norway, Vienna in Austria, Lyon and Paris in France, Brussels in Belgium, Gothenburg in Sweden, Naples and Venice in Italy, Ljubljana in Slovenian, Warsaw and Krawkow in Poland, Vilnius in Lithuanian, and Tübingen in southwest Germany.

This screening tour, made possible by the restoration efforts of Taiwan Film Institute, features the classic works of directors Xin Qi and LIN Tuan-qiu, including The Husband’s Secret (1965), May 13th, Night of Sorrow (1965), Six Suspects (1965), Foolish Bride, Naïve Bridegroom (1967), Encounter at the Station (1965), and The Rice Dumpling Vendors (1969), as well as director Liang Che-fu’s Tarzan and the Treasure (1965). Additionally, some screenings will feature Somewhere 4 Some Time (2019), a short film anthology collaboration between Taiwan Film Institute, Taiwan Public Television Service, and the Golden Horse Film Academy. Produced by legendary film editor LIAO Ching-song, the anthology is directed by Chris LEONG, LIN Shih-ching, LIN Ya-yu and CHEN Ting-ning, four up-and-coming filmmakers who each use their distinctive style to fuse contemporary elements with classic taiyupian as a homage to Taiwanese-language cinema.

 
▲ Somewhere 4 Some Time (2019)
 
 
▲ LIN Tuan-qiu’s The Husband’s Secret (1965)
 

According to Dr. CHEN Pin-Chuan, Director of the Cultural Division, Taipei Representative Office in the UK and a film scholar himself, when 1960s Taiwanese-language films are placed in the context of world cinema history, their film aesthetics and cultural value are by no means inferior to old black and white films of the West in mainstream discourse. Taiyupian lacked opportunities to be seen in the past, which is why foreign audiences know very little about them. It is his hope that this collaboration between key academic film institutions and scholars in the UK and Europe can help audiences in these parts of the world open up their vision and understanding of the cultural spectrum of Taiwan cinema, and in turn generate more discussions about classic Taiwanese films.

Dr. WANG Chun-Chi, Director of Taiwan Film Institute and Taiwanese-film scholar, noted that 1950-1970 was a golden era for taiyupian. Unfortunately, the films were not properly preserved, resulting in many precious film reels being lost forever. Of the 1000-plus films produced at the time, only around 200 have survived. Taiwan Film Institute has shouldered the important mission of preserving and promoting Taiwan cinema. All of the works from this 2020 screening tour are a result of Taiwan Film Institute’s digital restoration efforts in recent years. It is Dr. Wang’s hope that Taiwan Film Institute can use its digital restoration technology to share even more classic Taiwanese films with audiences around the world in the future.

 
▲ Xin Qi’s Encounter at the Station (1965)
 

For many countries, film is key representation of national culture. In the spectrum of world cinema, Taiwanese films have always occupied an important position. Dr. CHEN Pin-Chuan, Director of the Cultural Division, Taipei Representative Office in the UK, indicated that this year’s taiyupian screenings event and the “Post-Taiwan New Cinema” screening and discussion forum, an ongoing collaboration with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, will introduce the works of Taiwan’s mid-career filmmakers. He hopes that this will open up a new direction in Taiwan cinema discourse, so that British and European audiences’ knowledge of Taiwan cinema culture will not merely be limited to “New Taiwan Cinema”, and will instead be able to extend both forward and backward along the axis of time, gradually constructing a more complete and comprehensive understanding of the history of Taiwan cinema.

Apart from promoting films in the UK and Europe, Taiwan Film Institute will also be bringing the restored classics of Xin Qi and LIN Tuan-qiu to Harvard University and Columbia University in the United States this March, giving North American researchers interested in Taiwan cinema an opportunity to better understand Taiwanese-language films and probe deeper into their transnationality and unique hybrid aesthetics.

For further information and the screening schedule of “Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema: Recovered and Restored — 2020 Edition”, please visit the event’s official website at https://taiyupian.uk
 

Screening tour schedule

 (Please note the screening schedule is subject to change. Refer to https://taiyupian.uk for the latest updates)

Date

Event

Country

FEB

2/7 19:30

The Rice Dumpling Vendors and Binding (short)

United Kingdom

2/8 19:30

Tarzan and the Treasure

2/10 11:00

The Rice Dumpling Vendors

2/10 19:00

Encounter at the Station

2/11 18:00

Six Suspects

MAR

3/23 (Session A) 10:15, (Session B) 13:15,

The Husband’s Secret  and  Grandmother’s Small Talk  (short)

Finland

3/26-12/6

Film list is being continuously updated

France, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Poland, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic