Directed by Huang Ya-Li
Best Screenplay, Best Sound Design, 2016 Taipei Film Festival
Official Selection, 2016 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Official Selection, 2016 Jeonju International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2016 Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema
At once monumental and debonair, LE MOULIN is an epic assemblage of the 1930s Taiwanese literati’s psyche: its artistic output, its physical world, its philosophy, and its questions. For 162 minutes, it leisurely strolls through dense ideas and creative influences, stopping to point at Proust, Cocteau, Dalí, and others, ruminating on surrealism and Dada, hopping from Tainan to Tokyo, and breathing in the fervor of the modern city. However, for the documentary’s protagonists, the members of Taiwan’s first modern art society “Le Moulin,” a nagging vexation persists: that cosmopolitanism is linked to colonialism. Can there be Taiwanese literature if it is in Japanese? Can Taiwan join the chorus of the modern if it does not first have its own cultural identity?
Experimental filmmaker Huang Ya-li explores the exuberance and the concerns of the period through a lovely layering of avant-garde music, archival materials from around the world, and re-enactments that seem less fixated on faces and important figures than on the objects and settings that constellate the milieu from which the spirit of “Le Moulin” sprouted and later dissipated. In the same free-associative spirit of the artists themselves, Huang breathlessly scurries through photography, painting, poetry, and films from René Clair, Joris Ivens, Teinosuke Kinugasa, and others, letting the audience be the flâneur who experiences the attractions of modern art and the weaved layers of linguistic and cultural translation. –Brian Hu
Writer: Huang Ya-li