Taiwan

Ming-liang Tsai – Hai Jiao Tian Ya AKA All the Corners of the World (1989)

Quote:
All the Corners of the World sees the family unit as a disaster waiting to happen. Mr and Mrs Chang live in Taipei’s Hsi-Men-Ding (the city’s entertainment/red light/nightlife district) with their teenaged kids. The parents work as cleaners in a “love hotel” and send the kids out to work as ticket scalpers, block-buying seats for hit movies like A City of Sadness and reselling them at a profit. Tragedy strikes when the daughter Mei-Hsueh flirts with the idea of prostituting herself and changes her mind at the last moment, leaving her first client with injuries that put him on the critical list. The focus throughout is on the son Ah Tong, who has a latent talent as a writer that is never going to flower. Read More »

Yu Wang – Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi AKA Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975)

Storyline:
The one-armed boxer is stalked by a vengeful flying guillotine expert, after his disciples were killed in the first ‘One-Armed Boxer’ film. But as the flying guillotine master is blind, he starts his quest by becoming a serial killer of one-armed men. Meanwhile, the one-armed boxer is running a martial arts school, where he teaches his pupils to control their breath so they can run up walls and along ceilings. And there’s an Indian fakir whose arms can extend until they’re ten feet long. As you may have gathered, a rational plot summary is pretty pointless – but rest assured there are epic martial arts battles and ludicrously inspired moments galore. Read More »

Jen Wan – Youma caizi AKA Ah Fei AKA Rapeseed (1983)

Quote:
After graduating foreign languages department at Soochow University, he moved to USA, where he received MA in Film from Columbia College in California. While in America, he managed to create two well-received short films. In the early 80s he came back to Taiwan. In 1983 he was invited to direct one of the segments in an omnibus film The Sandwich Man. His episode is entitled The Taste of Apple (蘋果的滋味). The two other parts were directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien and Zeng Chuang-hsiang. This movie, together with another anthology film – In Our Time (1982), is considered a landmark in the emergence of the so-called Taiwanese New Wave. Among his other films, the most significant are Ah Fei (1984), Super Citizen Ko (1995) and Connection by Fate (1998). Read More »

Kang-sheng Lee – Bang bang wo ai shen AKA Help Me Eros (2007)

Quote:

The literal translation of the Taiwanese title is ‘Help Me, God of Love’, since Eros is an artifact of Greece-Roman mythology. The exclamation is a wry reference to the film’s comically cynical perspective on human relationships, in which a wide variety of unlikely subjects – food, marijuana and live eels, amongst others – become substitute objects of comfort and affection for the protagonists. The plea for help is also a strong theme in the form of the suicide hotline. Read More »

Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Lian lian feng chen aka Dust in the wind (1986)

Quote:
Dust in the Wind is a remarkable film, and one which will, no doubt, reward multiple viewings. Like most of the films of Hou Hsiao Hsien, viewers will be divided into two, sharply opposed camps.

The main characters in the film are two high-school students. The first is Wan, who – seeing his village as a dead-end career-wise, decides to leave their home town to go to Taipei to find work, intending to complete his education via night-school. His girlfriend Huen also leaves for Taipei after graduation. The other personages are family members, employers, friends and co-workers. Read More »

Hsing Lee – Qiu Jue AKA Execution in Autumn (1972)

Plot
Pei Gang (played by Ou Wei) was earlier sentenced by the magistrate to death for committing 3 cruel murders,even though he claimed that the killings were acts of self defense. We learnt that Pei Gang was in fact a spoiled brat and a bully. He also had a doting grandmother who promised that she’ll get him out of any trouble, including death row. Pei will not be executed until next Autumn, which gave him about one year’s time. When all efforts to get him out seem to fail, what will his next course of action be? The central theme of the story is not so much about his escape, but rather the transformation of this man from evil to good, from running away and blaming others into accepting responsibility for his actions and eventually, accepting his fate… Read More »

Hsiao-Hsien Hou – Feng er ti ta cai AKA Play While you Play AKA Cheerful Wind (1981)

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The pop-star leads from Hou’s first feature, Cute Girl, are reunited in the director’s follow-up, a brisk work of bubble-gum romance that begins to experiment with the rules of the genre. This time, Taiwanese singing sensation Feng Fei-fei plays Hsing-hui, a trendy photographer visiting a seaside village in Penghu with her successful boss/fiancé. When she happens upon a flute-playing medic blinded in an ambulance crash (Kenny Bee), sparks fly, songs are sung, and she’s left with the tough decision of who to say “I do” to. Despite the eye-rolling premise, Hou infuses the film with enough formal ingenuity (long takes, telephoto lenses, on-location shooting) that a case can be made for its auteurial significance. Read More »