FLOWERS OF TAIPEI: TAIWAN NEW CINEMA
Directed by Hsieh Chinlin
Free for UCSD students, faculty, and staff
Official Selection, 2014 Venice International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2014 Busan International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2015 International Film Festival Rotterdam
The Taiwan New Cinema movement of the 1980s didn’t just rejuvenate cinematic creativity in a nation moving away from a propaganda-mode of production. It also hitched itself to literary and political gusts and provided a stage for many of the conversations Taiwan was having about its people, its languages, its histories, and its peculiar colonial situations. Directors like Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, and Wang Tong injected a youthful energy into local filmmaking and became household names.
One of the ironies though is that while the Taiwan New Cinema films, with their experimental sensibilities and notoriously long takes, often alienated the Taiwanese audience, they won legions of overseas disciples who found in films from the tiny nation something profound about themselves. Whereas previous documentaries like Our Time, Our Story: 20 Years’ New Taiwan Cinema (2002) recalled the internal dynamics of the New Cinema, FLOWERS OF TAIPEI looks externally at how it has created ripples in international film culture and innovation. Through interviews with European and Asian critics and curators, as well as titans like Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Olivier Assayas, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Wang Bing, Jia Zhang-ke, and other directors, the documentary argues for Taiwan as a major pillar of contemporary world cinema.
Documentarian Chinlin Hsieh travels the world in awe of where the conversation is taking her and in appreciation of the reverence her countrymen have inspired. Like the New Cinema itself, the documentary is a modest retracing of a history that has never only been in one language. –Brian Hu