25 - 31 October 2021
In person at Glasgow Film Theatre & Summerhall, Edinburgh
Digital on https://online.taiwanfilmfestival.org.uk

Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh returns for its second edition between 25 and 31 October with a fantastic range of Taiwanese cinema gems, many of them UK premieres, dating from the 1930s up to 2020, presented through in-person screenings and digital talks at Glasgow Film Theatre and Summerhall in Edinburgh and a free digital programme of films.

With the theme of Disruptions and Transformations, inspired by the fast-changing and unsettling world in the past few years, the Festival explores both the monumental historic shifts the Taiwanese society experienced over the decades but also portrays the seemingly small disruptions of the everyday.

Featuring the work of legends such as Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Edward Yang, and exploring topics such as war, urban life and the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, the free programme of digital screenings is now available to pre-book on the Festival’s digital platform. Access is limited to a specific number of viewers per film so audiences are advised to book early.

For the first time, the Festival also presents a range of in-person screenings. As part of their special climate-focused strand in the run up to COP26, Glasgow Film Theatre will host a screening of two environmental documentaries showing how Taiwanese filmmakers address environmental transformations caused by economic and industrial progress – after all, the climate emergency is the ultimate change and interruption we all must respond to together. On 25 October, Sacred Forest (2019) will delve deep into the majestic cypress forest in Taiwan and on 30 October, Whale Island (2020) will explore how the ocean might become our home one day. Tickets on sale soon.

Sounds in Silence is a double bill of silent cinema gems offering an extraordinary glimpse into the everyday lives of Taiwanese people in the early and mid-20th century, presented at Summerhall on 27 October and featuring new score from acclaimed composer and musician Lim Giong and live music by Glasgow-based experimental musician Rory Green. With contemporary film scoring featuring on the archive films from decades ago, the event is going to take audience on a trip through time to Taiwan in the 1930s and 1960s. The tickets available here.

Liu Kuan-Ping, Chief Curator at the Festival, said: “I am really excited that for the first time, Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh is bringing three in-person screenings taking place at two fantastic arts institutions: Glasgow Film Theatre and Summerhall – all exploring Disruptions and Transformations on a macro and micro scale. I cannot wait to meet our audience face to face, with facial masks on of course. We are also pleased to be back with an inspired programme of free digital screenings this year available to nationwide audiences.”

“We would like to thank the Ministry of Culture in Taiwan, our generous sponsor, as well as our partners Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute who have been instrumental in securing some of the cinematic gems we are now able to share with our UK audiences.”

Telling us the inspiration of the theme, one of the co-curators, Chiu Yi-Chieh said: “On 23 March 2020, all of our lives were interrupted in unimaginable ways by the global pandemic- it was precisely at that time that the Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh was born. It made us reflect on how changes and interruptions are always present in our daily lives. When we were making the selection, we wanted to encourage audiences to look beyond the canons and fall in love with films that are overdue the world’s applause. We welcome audiences’ own interpretative grouping by putting all films under the theme of Disruptions and Transformations without the conventional curatorial classification.”

Head of Taipei Representative Office UK Cultural Division, Dr Chen Pin-Chuan said: “It is great to see Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh continuing the great work. Through these wonderful films from Taiwan, we hope to establish connections with Scottish audiences, and will introduce more cultural and arts programs to Scotland in the near future.”



IN-PERSON SCREENINGS in Glasgow and Edinburgh

Sacred Forest 神殿| Ke Ching-Yuan| 2019 | 60 mins

In-person screening on 25 October at Glasgow Film Theatre; tickets on sale soon.

Sacred Forest takes an eco-philosophical approach to introduce the deeply unique nature of Taiwan’s cloud enveloped cypress forest ecosystems and to explore the nation’s oldest forests, tallest tree species, and priceless, multi-millennial stands of giant ‘sacred trees’. Sacred Forest follows six separate groups, each with different interests and field specialties, as they experience the raw majesty of the forest from multiple facets ranging from the analytically intellectual to the introspectively emotional and spiritually uplifting.

The screening will also feature a special introduction from the film director, Ke Ching-yuan.

Whale Island 男人與他的海 | Huang Jia Jun| 2020 | 108 mins | UK Premiere

In-person screening on 30 October at Glasgow Film Theatre; tickets on sale soon.

Taiwan is an island. Although it is surrounded by the sea, its people fear the sea since the history and the religious beliefs held on this island make people turn their backs to the sea.

​Oceanic literature author Liao Hung-chi and underwater photographer Ray Chin lead the audience out to the sea and into the water. They prompt us to understand the sea and to think about the possibility that the ocean might become our lives and the future of our living land.

The screening will also feature a special introduction from the film director, Huang Jia-jun

Sounds in Silence double bill at 6.30pm on 27 October in Summerhall, Edinburgh; also online 28-31 Oct on Festival website.

A Morning in Taipei 臺北之晨 | Pai Jing-jui | 1964 | 20 mins | UK Premiere

Director Pai Jing-jui’s 1964 short documentary depicts a modern, industrious Taipei full of diverse and determined individuals as they perform their morning routines.  People begin their workday, actors prepare for a theatrical performance, and children play in the schoolyard; the day is full of wonder and possibility.

A pre-recorded conversation between Chen Chia-Huei (co-creator of the new score and sound for A Morning in Taipei and the art consultant and Head of Education at the Taiwan Sound Lab) and musician Rory Green will be screened after A Morning in Taipei.

Deng Nan-guang’s 8mm Movies 鄧南光8mm家庭電影| Deng Nan-guang| 1935-1941| 57 mins| UK Premiere

Deng Nan-Guang’s 57-minute collection of intimate home-style videos, filmed between 1935 and 1941, captures an overlooked side of Taiwanese life under Japanese occupation.  The films serve as a well-preserved time portal to a bygone era, offering a glimpse of life in Taiwan under colonial rule in the lead up to the Second World War. Screened to a live music score from a Glasgow-based experimental musician Rory Green.

DIGITAL SCREENINGS on the Festival website between 25 and 31 October 

The Best Secret Agent 天字第一號 | Chang Ying | 1964 | 102 mins

The first Taiwanese-language spy film produced in Taiwan; The Best Secret Agent is a remake of the 1945 movie of the same name that caused a sensation in Shanghai.  During the Sino-Japanese War, Tsui-Ying flees with her father from the Japanese occupation. She meets a young man, Ling-Yun, and falls in love. In the meantime, Special Agent 001 leads the resistance against the Japanese.

Foolish Bride, Naive Bridegroom 三八新娘憨子婿| Hsin Chi | 1967 | 101 mins

The parents of two young lovers meet to discuss the possibility of their marriage, only to discover that they themselves were lovers 30 years ago.

Dangerous Youth 危險的青春 | Hsin Chi | 1969 | 95 mins

Khue-guan (Shi Ying), a penniless delivery boy for a cosmetics company, meets Tsing-bi (Zheng Xiao-fen), a young and charming waitress, in awkward circumstances just as his girlfriend leaves him for a wealthy suitor.  Khue-guan is intrigued by Tsing-bi and tries to get her another job after meeting Giok-sian (Gao Xing-zhi), who runs a cabaret.  Eventually, she finds out that her new job is as an escort to a lonely, elderly millionaire named Mr. Tshi.

The Homecoming Pilgrimage of Dajia Mazu  大甲媽祖回娘家| Huang Chun-ming | 1975 | 27 mins | UK Premiere

Viewers are transported back in time to 1974 to see the annual Taoist celebration of the Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage. Thousands of participants accompany a statue of the goddess Mazu on a 9-day, 8-night procession, stopping at several prominent temples along the way.

Taipei Story 青梅竹馬 | Edward Yang | 1985 | 115 mins

A headstrong and financially-secure woman, Chin (played by Chin Tsai), is anxious to move forward in life and escape from the dissatisfaction and pain caused by family troubles, urban alienation, a lack of job security, tumultuous friendships, and a distant past of baseball glory to which her boyfriend, Lung (Hou Hsiao-hsien), so desperately clings. Chin thinks moving to America may be the solution, but as time goes by, it becomes increasingly clear that may not fix all her problems.

Dust in the Wind 戀戀風塵 | Hou Hsiao-Hsien | 1986 | 109 mins

Dust in the Wind is a coming-of-age love story about two young individuals, Wan and Huen, from the Taiwanese mining village of Jio-fen.  Their hope is to make enough money to be able to get married one day, believing like everyone else that they are meant for each other.  Despite what fate may seem to have in store for them, they cannot help but care deeply for one another.

Peony Birds 牡丹鳥 | Huang Yu-shan| 1990 | 107 mins | UK Premiere

A multi-generational story about the troubled relationship between a mother and a daughter: from when she was a young child to adulthood and her joining her mother in the busy Taipei of the 80s and 90s and pursuing a career of her own.

Also available on the Festival’s digital platform will be a Q&A session with director Huang Yu-shan.

Hill of no Return 無言的山丘 | Wang Tung | 1992 | 175 mins

This 1992 drama, set in 1927, tells the tale of two brothers, Chu and Wei, who leave home following the death of their parents to work at a Japanese-occupied gold mine in the remote, poverty-stricken town of Jiou-fen in the northeast of Taiwan.  The brothers dream of one day becoming rich and owning their own land and, taken in by the gold rush, they endure back-breaking labour for little reward. They then both fall deeply in love with partners that risk to complicate their lives even further.

Also available on the Festival’s digital platform will be a Q&A session with director Wang Tung.

The Personals 徵婚啓事 | Chen Kuo-Fu | 1998 | 105 mins

Du Jia-zhen is a 29-year-old eye doctor at a hospital, who decides to quit her job and find a husband. She places a personal ad in the newspaper, searching for a potential match to distract herself from recent heartbreak.  The film depicts the urban dating scene of Taipei in the 1990s in all of its absurdity and hideousness, conveying humour through humiliation and evoking sympathy for the strangest people.

Splendid Float 豔光四射歌舞團 | Zero Zhou | 2004 | 73 mins

An aesthetically stunning, lightly humorous, and dramatic film that confronts traditional gender roles and explores the themes of conformity, grief, acceptance, personal struggle, and identity. A Taoist priest named Xiao Qiang-wei (James Chen) doubles as a drag queen by the name of Rose that performs at various nightlife venues.

Closing Time 打烊時刻 | Nicole Vogele | 2018 | 116 mins

Swiss filmmaker Nicole Vogele’s documentary Closing Time captures the calm after the storm of midnight living. The film draws attention to the quiet, fatigued period that follows the hustle and bustle of Taipei’s vibrant city life and the night shift workers that keep the city awake well into the early hours of the next day.