Beyond Identity: The Taiwan Film Festival Searches for Dialogue

Beyond Identity: The Taiwan Film Festival Searches for Dialogue

The inaugural Taiwan Film Festival will be held on Memorial Day weekend, May 26th and 27th 2019, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The festival is organized by a group of Taiwan movie lovers from different backgrounds and aims to offer a platform for sharing an authentic cinematic experience of newly released Taiwanese movies to an American audience.


This year, the Festival will feature six poignant and critically acclaimed documentaries from Taiwan, plus in-person discussions with directors and producers, all under one roof in the heart of Kendall Square. These films showcase a diverse set of real-life stories: “Our Youth in Taiwan” chronicles the contemporary student-led sunflower movement, while “Black Cat Squadron” offers a very different vision of youth and courage through the story of pilots on a secret Cold War mission. “Father” explores inheritance through a master puppeteer seeking to build a family legacy and preserve a disappearing craft, while “Silent Teacher” details one woman’s ultimate gift after death. “A Journey with Invisible Friends” seeks spiritual reconciliation of a 300-year-old trauma between Han Chinese and Siraya aboriginals, while “Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story” recounts a NY Yankees baseball star’s struggle for redemption after a career-threatening injury. Even more dramatic than fiction, these stories will fascinate, entertain, and spur intellectual reflection. International movie lovers and scholars of the world, rejoice!


Boston film critics are already familiar with the outstanding cinematographic language and the humanistic depth of Taiwanese movies. In 2000, director Ang Lee’s film ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ won the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Language Film. This movie adapted Taiwan’s first martial arts film from 1959, transforming it to a modern genre and earning it a global success. Likewise, BSFC recognized the talents of Edward Yang, one of the leading directors of Taiwan's New Wave movement in the 90s, and nominated him for Best Director. Yang’s film “Yi Yi” (A One and A Two) is now also regarded as one of the major films of the 21st century.


The high bar set by directors like Ang Lee and Edward Yang hasn’t stopped younger Taiwanese movie directors from pushing their craft further. Growing up in the most liberal and active civil society in East Asia, these young directors are more fearless than their predecessors and willing to put their cameras directly in front of the once hidden personal stories, without any reservations. These filmmakers explore the many historical faces of Taiwan, from its colonization by both the Dutch and Japanese to its rule by an authoritative National Party that retreated from China in 1949 to Taiwan’s blossoming into a vibrant democracy in the 1990s. Young directors in Taiwan are now casting light into the historical shadows and bringing truth, humanity and touching life stories back to the public. The Taiwan Film Festival 2019 in Boston will give you a flavor of the best of Taiwan's young directors!


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