Directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Arvin Chen, Wang Shau-Di, Wang Tung, Chu Yen-Ping, Ho Wi-Ding, Wu Nien-Chen, Shen Ko-Shang, Hou Chi-Jan, Sylvia Chang, Chang Tso-Chi, Chen Yu-Hsun, Chen Kuo-Fu, Yang Ya-Chi, Cheng Wen-Tang, Cheng Yu-Chieh, Hsiao Ya-Chuan, Leon Dai, Chung Mong-Hong, Wei Te-Sheng
Official Selection, 2012 Berlin Film Festival
In 1982-83, two omnibus films in Taiwan faced off against each other. In Our Time (1982) showcased four rookie directors, while The Wheel of Life (1983) contained shorts by three old-timers. Between the two, In Our Timewas the commercial and critical success and built momentum for new directors to challenge the status quo and launch the Taiwan New Cinema movement in the 1980s.
Last year, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China, the Golden Horse Film Festival posed a similar face-off between old and new by inviting 10 veterans and 10 relative newcomers to make five minute short films about “Taiwan’s uniqueness.” The result is, unlike In Our Time, The Wheel of Life, or the 1983 omnibus Four Moods(1969), a collection of shorts strikingly diverse in subject, tone, and style, ranging from the happy-go-lucky of Wang Tung, to the documentary ecstasy of Cheng Wen-tang, to the youthful whimsy of Arvin Chen. Some are deathly sincere, some jokey, some aggressive, some mystical. And for a film produced to commemorate a historical moment with master narrative undertones, 10+10 has a wonderfully diverse set of approaches to time itself – histories breaking and intersecting, rhythms moving to the eccentric pace of each director. Each short is five minutes, yet we feel 20 times over how differently duration (and history) can be experienced.
And then there’s Hou Hsiao-hsien’s shimmering “La Belle Epoque,” a short seeped in history, memory, and continuity, yet it seems to exist outside of time itself. It’s a masterful close to 10+10, a breath of crisp autumn’s air that recalibrates any current historicization of Taiwanese cinema, and reminds us that any evaluation of Taiwan’s uniqueness must include the reminder that the nation has a great artist like Hou Hsiao-hsien. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: Taiwanese American Community Center
Cast: Shu Qi, Joseph Chang, Leon Dai, Lin Ching-Tai