Taiwan

Elvis Lu – The Shepherds (2018)

Despite harsh condemnation and denunciation from society, a heterosexual female pastor founded Taiwan’s first LGBT-affirming church in May 1996. For LGBT Christians, who had been rejected by the Christian community for a long time, they finally have a church that offers them a safe haven. Though the founder has passed away, the church members continue to make their voice heard, confronting the unjust social institutions while struggling with religious conflict at the same time. Come hell or high water, they strive to make a difference in the lives of others by telling their own life stories, in hope that love will eventually trump hate and solve misunderstanding someday. Read More »

Ming-liang Tsai – He liu AKA The River (1997)

Quote:
An unemployed young man named Hsiao-Kang (Lee Kang-sheng) passes idle time at a local Taipei mall when he encounters an old friend (Chen Shiang-chyi) on the opposite escalator. With time on his hands, he agrees to accompany her back to the location shoot where she is working as a production assistant for a film. At the site, the director is displeased with the unrealistic appearance of a mannequin intended to represent a dead body floating on the river, and asks the aimless Hsiao-Kang to act as a stand-in for the shot. Read More »

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 »