Taiwan through the lens

Taiwan through the lens

The fifth edition of the Taiwan Documentary Film Festival returns to the Kingdom with unique insights about the island


Last week at SF Cinema MBK and House Samyan, the Bangkok edition of the Taiwan Documentary Film Festival in Thailand 2022 took place. Now it's the turn of film lovers in Chiang Mai, Hat Yai and Songkhla to enjoy the same programme with subtitles in Thai and English. Physical screenings will take place at SFX Cinema Maya (Chiang Mai), Lorem Ipsum (Hat Yai) and A.E.Y Space (Songkhla) from today until Sunday.

To foster the relationship between Thailand and Taiwan and create learning exchanges in art, culture, history and life in Taiwan through movies, the festival returns for its 5th edition with co-operation from the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand, Taiwan Film and Audio Visual Institute, Taiwan Docs, Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, as well as the Documentary Club's film industry partners who teamed up to make this event possible.

"To all the film lovers in Thailand, we hope our audience enjoys not just Taiwanese movies, but also the culture and way of life in Taiwan," said Dr Chuang Suo Hang, a representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Affairs in Thailand at a press conference last week.

"Don't miss our opening feature film The Terrorizers by Edward Yang which won the Best Feature Film at the Golden Horse Film Festival in 1986 and the best screenplay at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in 1987. Its background scenes and atmosphere shows what Taipei was like in the 80s and how different it is from today. For the fifth edition of the Taiwan film festival, I would like to thank our partners, especially the Documentary Club, and Taiwanese film lovers. Your support enriches this event."

In addition to screenings of 11 award-winning films which include documentaries, features, short films and animations from the island, TDFF 2022 will also feature post-screening activities and discussions with directors. Audiences can check the information as well as schedule via the Documentary Club's official website.

Taiwan Documentary Film Festival In Thailand 2022 will be held from Nov 4-6 at SFX Cinema Maya (Chiang Mai), Lorem Ipsum (Hat Yai ) and A.E.Y Space (Songkhla). Details are available at documentaryclubthailand.com/tdff2022 and fb.com/TaiwanDocumentaryFilmFestival.


Rain In 2020. (Photos courtesy of Cultural Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand)

■ Rain In 2020 (2021, Lee Yong-Chao)

The documentary follows the life of Ah-Tian's family over seven years and shows changes in Myanmar, the dangerous work at jade mines, and the rains every year which compel Ah-Tian to return home to look after his family.

A Silent Gaze. 

■ A Silent Gaze (2022, Huang Hsin-Yao)

Bei-Jiang-Qi is short for the three townships of Beimen, Jiangjun and Qigu off the coast of Tainan County in Southern Taiwan. Director Huang moved there in 2005 after having moved over 20 times since childhood. In 2009, he began to document the area. The film presents an immense record of open landscapes and footprints of human activities.

■ Remember Me (2022, Hung Chun-Hsiu)

Hung Chun-Hsiu spent seven years filming three residents of Kinmen Island. They include an owner of a local photography shop, a retired officer and a Chinese woman from Sichuan province who came to Kinmen hoping for a better future. Using photographs and archive material, Hung explores the personal stories of three residents and how they reflect on upheavals between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Green Jail. 

■ Green Jail (2021, Huang Yin-Yu)

Grandma Hashima knows the secrets of Green Jail — a notorious coal mine in Okinawa, Japan. With hardly any visitors, she lives alone in an old wooden house by the "jail on the sea" where her family once lived. In Green Jail, she recounts her experience of the coal mining days on the island. Through her memories of guilt, pain, anger and the miseries of the past 80 years, this film portrays the last years of Grandma Hashima's life.

■ Crossing's End (2021, Shih Yu-Lun)

In 2002, Wang and his girlfriend met at a bridge to discuss their breakup, but then she accidentally fell off the bridge and died. Wang asked a friend to call an ambulance, while his girlfriend's parents later accused them of murder. They weren't prosecuted until a witness claimed the two of them threw the victim off the bridge. Thirteen years later, the Taiwan Innocence Project decided to take on the case as there was no evidence apart from altered witness testimony.

■ The Making Of Crime Scenes (2021, Hsu Che-Yu)

During martial law, Taiwanese-American writer Henry Liu was shot dead by assassin Wu Dun. After being released from prison, Wu became a film producer and established a film company that produced martial-art wuxia films. In this movie, the filmmaker revisited Wu's abandoned studio to restage the events with forensic scanning techniques.


The Terrorizers. 

■ The Terrorizers (1986, Edward Yang)

A look into urban life from the eyes of a voyeuristic photographer, a rebellious teenager and a married couple teetering on the edge of adultery.

■ City Of Lost Things (2020, Chih-Yen Yee)

A 16-year-old teenager named Leaf runs away from home and ends up in a peculiar place called the City of Lost Things. There he meets Baggy, a 30-year-old plastic bag. He has a purpose in his life — to lead his tribe to flee the City of Lost Things, but he needs help from Leaf to fight a dreadful army.

■ The Bride Who Has Returned From Hell (1965, Chi Hsin)

A woman goes undercover as a governess to investigate the mysterious death of her sister while repairing her relationship with her niece.

■ Tarzan And The Treasure (1965, Liang Zhefu)

During World War II, one soldier from Macau and one from Taiwan buried a treasure in Malaysia. Many years later, their descendants piece together the treasure map and start searching. However, the Macau triads are after the treasure too. At their moment of greatest danger in the jungle, Taiwanese Tarzan swings onto the scene to save them.

Dad's Suit. 

■ Dad's Suit (2018, Po-Hao Hung)

An 80-year-old widower named Chin-mao lives alone in rural Pingxi. An unforeseen accident forces him to accept his deteriorating condition and agree to stay in a nursing home. Sickness, death and a suit too old to fit gradually tear down his will to live as even his grandson's wedding cannot cheer him up. The thoughtful daughter has a new suit tailor-made for her father so they can all celebrate the wedding as a family. But Chin-mao just wants to wear the new suit and walk his last mile back home.

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