• Medical students prepare to dissect a woman's corpse in "The Silent Teacher."
  • A man fighting for his rights during the Imperialism period is the subject of "The Mountain."
  • Four artists decide to invite their parents to play the parts of dissidents in 1980s Taiwan in "Time Splits in the River."

Glimpses of another world

movie & TV August 23, 2018 01:00

By THE NATION

4,324 Viewed

Eight films reflecting life in Taiwan make their debut in Bangkok



Taiwan has long showcased its culture and way of life to Thai film fans through a range of movies covering just about every genre. This year, though, it has decided to spread its wings and is bringing some of its most telling documentaries to town for the inaugural “Taiwan Documentary Film Festival in Bangkok 2018” running from next Thursday to September 2 at SF World Cinema CentralWorld.

The festival draws on the success of the documentary film project, a collaborative effort of SF and the Documentary Club, and will feature eight documentaries screened with Thai and English subtitles.

Among them is “Small Talk”, a touching film in which the director Huang Hui-chen attempts to reveal and reconcile a painful past shared between herself and her mother Anu, a lesbian Taoist priestess. Released in 2016, it had its international premiere at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section, and took home the Teddy Award for Best Documentary film.

Another highlight is “Le Moulin”,  which won the Best Documentary prize at the Golden Horse Film Festival 2016. It focuses on Taiwan’s first modern art group, Le Moulin Poetry Society, who emerged in the 1930s after 40 years of Japanese colonial rule with their poetic protest against the colonial power’s cultural superiority. Regarding the Surrealists as their absolute role models, Le Moulin poets composed poetry in an uncompromising and sophisticated style to confront the turbulent era in which they lived.

“Time Splits in the River” is a story about four artists who decide to invite their parents to play the parts of dissidents in 1980s Taiwan. To get prepared for the performance, the artists show the actors footage from that time, initiating the discussion of arts and politics. Although none of them were involved in the event, they are still caught up in the story as well as their own past.

“Sunflower Occupation” will fascinate anyone with an interest in EastAsian politics. It’s the work of nine documentary makers who joined forces to produce a 10-part anthology of the student-led Sunflower Movement. In 2014, while protesting against the Crossstrait Service Trade Agreement that was hastily approved, a group of protestors stormed into the Taiwanese parliament and occupied it for 24 days. Why and how did it happen? What changes did the young generation go through?

After they stormed through the side door of the Legislative Yuan, it was like the door to a bottomless black hole was thrown open. The most eternal and fundamental questions are: What is democracy? What is the government? What is violence? What is the future? What is the happiness we seek? Who are “we”? 

The film has received plenty of critical acclaim, with the Hollywood Reporter describing it as “a useful primer on the pluses and pitfalls of political activism in a spin-saturated world”.

In Taiwan, a dead body used for medical dissection is called “a silent teacher”. “The Silent Teacher” therefore tells the story of Mrs Lin whose body is about to be dissected.

Also showing are “The Immortal’s Play” about the life of a Chinese opera actress; “The Mountain”, which focuses on a man who fights for his rights during the Imperialism period; and “Stranger in the Mountain”, which looks at the remaining descendants of the Kuomintang of China.

A complete listing of the films and the times of the screenings can be found at www.SFCinemaCity.com

Taiwanese Teasers

- “Taiwan Documentary Film Festival in Bangkok 2018” runs from August 30 to September 2, SF World Cinema CentralWorld. 

- Tickets cost Bt160 for a Deluxe Seat and Bt180 for a Premium Seat. 

- For more information, call SF Call Centre at (02) 268 8888.