Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh returns with UK premieres and in-person screenings
- Emma Simmonds
- 23 September 2021
Online options are also available from 25 to 31 October, with films ranging from the classic to the contemporary
Aiming to introduce the rich history of Taiwanese filmmaking to UK audiences, the Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh acts as a showcase for a wide range of cinematic gems, with films from 1935 all the way up to 2020 included, and both narrative features and documentaries in the mix. The full programme has just been announced for the festival's second edition, which runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 October and features both a free digital line-up that will be available UK-wide and, for the first time, three in-person screenings, at Edinburgh's Summerhall and Glasgow Film Theatre.
This year's theme is Disruptions and Transformations, with one of the festival's co-curators Chiu Yi-Chieh explaining more: 'On 23 March 2020, all of our lives were interrupted in unimaginable ways by the global pandemic – it was precisely at that time that the Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh was born. It made us reflect on how changes and interruptions are always present in our daily lives. When we were making the selection, we wanted to encourage audiences to look beyond the canons and fall in love with films that are overdue the world's applause. We welcome audiences' own interpretative grouping by putting all films under the theme of Disruptions and Transformations without the conventional curatorial classification.'
The work of Taiwanese filmmaking legends such as Hou Hsiao-hsien (1986's Dust In The Wind) and Edward Yang (1985's Taipei Story) features as part of the digital programme, while audiences will also be introduced to the lesser-known cinematic output of directors such as Zero Zhou and Huang Yu-shan, with their films Splendid Float (2004) and Peony Birds (1990).
On the evening of Wednesday 27 October, Edinburgh's Summerhall will play host to Sounds In Silence, a double-bill of silent cinema classics focusing on the everyday lives of Taiwanese people in the early and mid-20th century. With things kicking off with a welcoming reception, the films that follow are director Pai Jing-jui's documentary A Morning In Taipei, a 1964 short inspired by Italian neorealism that depicts the morning routines of residents of the titular city, and a collection of 8mm shorts from director Deng Nan-guang, comprising home movie-style videos shot between 1935 and 1941 that capture Taiwanese life under Japanese occupation. The films will also be available to view the next day via the festival website.
As part of their climate-focused strand in the run-up to this year's pivotal UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, Glasgow Film Theatre will present two environmental documentaries from Taiwanese filmmakers seeking to address environmental transformations brought about by economic and industrial progress. 2019's Sacred Forest – screening on Monday 25 October – introduces Taiwan's cloud-enveloped cypress forest ecosystems, exploring the nation's oldest forests and giant sacred trees. While 2020's Whale Island – screening on Saturday 30 October – reflects on Taiwan as an island, with oceanic literature author Liao Hung-chi and underwater photographer Ray Chin asking us to think about the possibility that the ocean might become our lives and our future. Both films will screen with special introductions from their respective directors Ke Ching-yuan (Sacred Forest) and Huang Jia-jun (Whale Island).
Tickets for the two GFT events will be on sale soon. Tickets for the Summerhall double-bill can be purchased now by visiting summerhall.co.uk/sh-event/sounds-in-silence/. The Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh's digital programme will be available to watch once the festival begins via online.taiwanfilmfestival.org.uk with audiences able to create an account and secure access to the titles in advance.
To browse the full festival programme and find out more head to taiwanfilmfestival.org.uk.