The Global Taiwan Institute is very pleased to host the 2021 Taiwanese Film Week, GTI’s second annual virtual film festival. From October 1-9, GTI will feature a diverse selection of eight Taiwanese films and documentaries, as well as Q&A sessions with the directors of two selected films. All will be streamed for free on Asiania.
You will find the complete schedule of films below. Please note that in order to register for each film, viewers need to create an account with Asiania. Make sure to register for each film in advance as some movies have limited capacity! Only those currently located in the United States will be able to watch the featured films. Q&A sessions with film directors will be accessible to viewers worldwide.
My Missing Valentine (消失的情人節)
This light-hearted romantic comedy tells the story of Hsiao-chi, a 29 year-old postal worker who longs to find her first love. As she faces day after day of boring routines and eccentric customers, she daydreams of romance. Hsiao-chi is finally shaken from her rut when a handsome stranger finally asks her out on the day before Valentine’s Day. However, when she wakes the next morning, she finds that Valentine’s Day has mysteriously passed, leading her to search for her missing Valentine.
Please note: This film has a limited capacity of only 500 tickets. Make sure to register early! Only available for viewers located in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Formosan Black Bear is Coming (黑熊來了)
In this stunning documentary, experienced mountaineer and director Chueh-Ming Mai traces the exploits of Professor Huang Mei-show, a leading expert on the Formosan Black Bear, as she studies these rare creatures in their natural habitat. As exciting as it is painful, the film documents the plight of a distinctive species on the edge of extinction. In doing so, it allows viewers to explore the beauty of the Taiwanese mountains, relate with the research teams’ passion for the bears, and gain a greater understanding of the painful ordeal bears all over the world experience.
Dear Tenant (親愛的房客)
This drama tells the story of Lin Chian-i, a young man who has spent several years looking after his elderly landlord and her nine-year-old grandson. However, when his landlord unexpectedly passes away, Lin is cast into a web of suspicion, doubt, and grief. As he navigates a rapidly expanding investigation, Lin’s role in the death becomes increasingly ambiguous. In depicting Lin’s efforts to prove his innocence, Dear Tenant explores themes of homosexuality, prejudice, and the bonds between family. Critically acclaimed both domestically and internationally, this film won the 2020 Golden Horse Awards for best leading male role and best supporting female role. Please be advised that this film contains mature themes.
Please note: This film has a limited capacity of only 350 tickets. Make sure to register early!
This film screening will be followed by a conversation with the director of Dear Tenant, Cheng Yu-chieh (鄭有傑), on Monday, October 4, from 9pm-10pm (ET). The live-stream of this discussion will be available for viewers worldwide on Asiania and Youtube. You will have an opportunity to send your questions to Director Cheng—please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Youtube chat during the live-stream. The recording of the event will also be available following the live-stream.
Born in Taiwan in 1977, Cheng Yu-Chieh is a director, screenwriter, actor and producer of Taiwanese film and television. His debut film, Do Over, was at Critic Weeks Venice Film Festival in 2006. Yang Yang, his second film, was invited by Panorama Berlinale in 2009, and Panay, his third film, was the Opening Film at Singapore International Film Festival in 2014. Dear Tenant is his fourth feature film.
“In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legally recognize same-sex marriage. But at the same time, it also brought together the country’s conservative forces like never before in questioning the legitimacy of ‘diverse families.‘
I couldn’t help but reconsider: What constitutes ‘family’? What is ‘normal’?
This is the story of a family that has been pieced together.
Perhaps what truly constitutes ‘family’ is not the laws or blood relations that are apparent to us, but that indescribable sense of belonging. Perhaps there is no such thing in the world as ‘abnormal;’ there is only ‘the normal we do not know.‘”
Sounds of Taiwan (聽見臺灣)
This musical documentary follows the journey of Bao Yuan-kai, a Chinese composer who has become one of Taiwan’s leading musical figures. After being invited to Taiwan for a composing conference in 1994, Bao gradually developed a deep and abiding love for Taiwan’s freedom and humanity. By depicting Bao’s unique experiences and widely celebrated compositions, Sounds of Taiwan provides viewers with profound insights into Taiwanese music, culture, and political identity.
Please note: This film has a limited capacity of only 250 tickets. Make sure to register early!
A Leg (腿)
This unique drama begins with a leg about to be amputated. The leg’s owner is Tzu-han, a man who passed away unexpectedly after a seemingly routine surgery. Devastated, his wife Yu-ying is inspired to track down his missing leg. In doing so, she begins to recall moments from their marriage, from their first dance to the gradual collapse of their relationship. By retrieving the leg, Yu-ying hopes to properly bid farewell to the man she once loved. Only then can she begin her own journey by herself. Please be advised that this film contains mature themes.
Chen Uen (千年一問)
This fascinating documentary follows the life and works of Chen Uen, one of Asia’s most celebrated comic artists. His work is renowned for his unique style that blends art forms of Chinese ink painting and western painting styles. An expansive film full of intimate interviews and unseen footage, Chen Uen charts Chen’s illustrious career in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Japan, all the while providing unique insights into Chen’s artistic values, personal beliefs, and idiosyncratic style.
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩)
This domestic drama focuses on Han, a young boy who lives with his great grandmother in a small mountain town. When Han’s estranged mother asks him to return with her to the city, Han’s quiet life is disrupted as he is pulled into a world of violence, drugs, and dysfunction. Watching helplessly as his mother struggles through abuse and addiction, he begins to feel as trapped as the sparrows he once pitied in his mountain home. A tale of perseverance and pain, Wild Sparrow sheds light on the difficult lives of those on the fringes of Taiwanese society. Please be advised that this film contains mature themes.
Whale Island (男人與他的海)
In this beautifully-shot documentary, oceanic literature author Liao Hung-chi and underwater photographer Ray Chin take audiences on a journey into the seas that surround Taiwan. Despite Taiwan’s geographic position as an island country, the people of Taiwan have a long, complex, and conflicted relationship with the sea. By exploring Taiwan’s waters and shedding light on their unique inhabitants, the documentary provides deep insights into the soul and society of this island in the sea.
This film screening will be followed by a conversation with the director of Whale Island, Huang Chia-chun (黃嘉俊), on Saturday, October 9, from 9pm-10pm (ET). The live-stream of this discussion will be available on Asiania and Youtube. You will have an opportunity to send your questions to Director Huang—please submit them to email@example.com or to the Youtube chat during the live-stream. The recording of the event will also be available following the live-stream.
Born in 1974, Huang Chia-chun graduated from the National Taiwan University of Arts. Having over ten years of experience working in Taiwanese film and television, Huang excels at discovering novel and untouched themes. Using his approachable style, he presents meticulous observations of Taiwanese society. In 2008, Huang founded Brown Sugar Media Creative Company, which specializes in the production of documentaries, TV programs, and commercial short films. In the same year, he released his first feature documentary, Flying Boy, which was awarded the Taipei Film Award for Best Documentary. His works have been praised by film festivals at home and abroad.
We are grateful to the Taiwan Academy, Ministry of Culture, Taiwan for providing resources to the GTI cultural programs series.