2021 focus on a country: Taiwan
Yi Yi, Taiwan in the spotlight!
On the world map of cinema, Taiwan is a country that stands out. You may recall at the end of the 1980s, the invigorating breath referred to as the new Taiwanese wave, a cinema that broke from the cinema of propaganda, the romances and the nostalgia of a lost China: Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang (the title of this retrospective is a nod to one of his films), Ang Lee and Tsai Ming-liang played a key role in the birth of Taiwanese auteur cinema and, more broadly, in this background movement that has brought Asian cinema to the forefront of the international scene for over thirty years. These directors are distinguished by their aesthetic biases and their questions about Taiwanese identity. Despite an industry under surveillance, their dissonant and popular cinema has developed and instilled a discourse that turns the dominant line of thought on its head.
Through the films in this retrospective, it is a question of understanding how an identity, not unique but plural and constantly evolving, takes shape, with a mixture of influences from Confucianism, Han, but also Japanese culture, European, American and the aboriginal peoples of Taiwan. By becoming, for example, the first Asian country to recognize same-sex marriage in May 2019, and in view of the democratic repression in Hong Kong in 2020, Taiwan confirms its status as a progressive outpost in the region.
Thanks to the restoration work begun a few years ago by the Kaohsiung Film Archive, we will be able to see The Skywalk is Gone by Tsai Ming-liang (2002), but also the very disturbing Respire (2005) of Ho Wi-ding, which tells a tragic love story in the middle of a pandemic. Ho Wi-ding will also be a member of the international jury. Wu Ke-xi, screenwriter and lead actress in the feature film Nina Wu directed by Midi Z, in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and released in theatres in December 2019, will be a member of the Lab jury. The Palace on the Sea, a short film bringing together this duo in a virtuosic choreography, will also be present in this retrospective. Having been previously selected in the Lab, we will once again have the pleasure of showing the works of two young directors, full of freedom and visual audacity: The Sound of Falling by Lin Chien-yu (Festivals Connexion award in 2019) and Yen Yen by Lin Chunni in 2015.