Written by Elliott Y.N. Cheung. “Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing,” says José Esteban Muñoz. So, if these resisting narratives defy the regulation of an all-encompassing narrative and seek to entice viewers to recognise what is not yet there — might we call them queer? Moreover, if a country that not only enables such views but can actively and constructively engage with them, struggling to hold them in all their difference — might we also call it queer?
Written by Brian Hioe. Taiwan may have a long way to go with regards to this before achieving anything like the successes of the Taiwanese New Wave some decades back. This ultimately returns to issues that exist on multiple levels, all the way from within the film industry to government promotion of Taiwanese films.
Written by Chun-yi Kuo. From a personal point of view, this essay attempts to shed light on the opening sequence of Huang Ya-Li’s film Le Moulin (2015) by explaining the metaphor of the sequence and the film. I will clarify the history of Taiwan’s cinematographic work, along with that of surrealist poets, and their connection to Taiwan’s national history.
Written by Adina Zemanek and Lara Momesso. Since the early 2000s, immigrants from mainland China and Southeast Asia have been an increasingly visible component of Taiwan’s social and public landscape. As such, they have received growing recognition both in terms of legal provisions and in the public discourse. An example of this acknowledgement is the December 2019 issue of Taiwan Panorama, a promotional magazine issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Half of this issue is dedicated to highlighting migrants’ presence in Taiwan. One of the articles calls for listening to their unique life stories, which would have the transformative effect of understanding the world from a new perspective and dismantling preconceptions about Southeast Asian cultures.
Written by Yiling Pan. What is the Taiwanese identity in today’s Taiwan Cinema? In 2008, Taiwan’s Cinema began to get back on its feet after an extended lull, with several new directors successively releasing critically acclaimed first works, such as Chung Mong-hong’s Parking, Tom Lin Shu-yu’s Winds of September and Gilles Yang’s Orz Boyz!. However, it took Wei Te-sheng’s debut, Cape No. 7, to become a box-office hit and arouse widespread interest in Taiwanese film. .
Written by Yi Wang. Significant progress and landmark rulings in advancing LGBTQ+ rights have been made across Asia in recent years, though many challenges and obstacles remain. Asians are among the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the UK, but Asian LGBTQ+ communities are not widely represented. Film reflects society and a medium capable of raising awareness amongst audiences in a direct and accessible way. Queer representation in the media is strongly linked to the wider public’s views on LGBTQ+ communities. I founded Queer East to amplify the voices of under-represented queer Asian and diasporic communities.
Interviewed, translated and edited by Isabelle Cheng. On 30 October 2020, the Taiwan Studies Programme hosted a webinar after the online screening of a pilot documentary Nine Shots (槍響之前) directed by Tsai Tsung-lung. This essay is an interview with Tsai about this pilot documentary, which discusses what, if not who, was responsible for the tragic death of Nguyen Quoc Phi. The latter was an undocumented Vietnamese migrant worker who was shot dead by the police, firing nine shots in 12 seconds, on 31 August 2017 in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan.
Written by Milo Hsieh. Alan Yang’s first feature film, Tigertail, recounts the tale of Pin-jui, a Taiwanese immigrant estranged from his family after arriving in New York. The Taiwanese backdrop sets the film apart from The Farewell, which also captured attention with its Asian American immigrant narrative. This has heightened expectations among Taiwanese and diaspora audiences for a film that portrays Taiwan not as a generic East Asian country but one with a unique culture and history.
Written by J. Michael Cole. A long time in the making and after many challenges, a major politico-historical TV drama about Taiwan’s democratization will finally hit TV sets nationwide on 20 January. Based on political developments and figures from the 1990s, “Island Nation” (國際橋牌社) follows the hopes, fears and travails of a wide set of fictional characters in the dramatic years of Taiwan’s transition from an authoritarian state to a democracy.
Written by Catherine Ju-yu Cheng. The critically acclaimed 2014 Taiwanese film Kano, which was produced by Wei Te-Sheng and Jimmy Huang, and directed by Umin Boya, was based on the true story of the meteoric rise of a Japanese colonial-era (1895-1945) Taiwanese baseball team.
Written by Yao-hung Huang. The Taiwanese director Wei De-Sheng burst onto the international scene over a decade ago with his critically acclaimed musical drama Cape No. 7. The movie was an unexpected box office success, and saw Wei held up as a beacon of hope for Taiwan’s beleaguered film industry. Nonetheless, Cape 7 came under fire in some quarters for painting the legacy of Japanese colonial rule in a positive light.
Written by Tim Shao-Hung Teng. In 2015 Taiwanese filmmaker Huang Ya-li (黃亞歷) released his documentary Le Moulin (Riyaori shi sanbuzhe/ 日曜式散步者) to critical acclaim. The film recounts the major life events of four core members of Taiwan’s prewar surrealist poetry society, Le Moulin (fengche shishe/風車詩社). Known for its experimental style that does away with interviews and voice-over narrations, the nearly-three-hour film cites, extracts, pastes, and freely associates materials such as literature, paintings, photography, sounds, film footage, diary entries, and newspaper clippings. These sources are not always readily recognisable and nor are they all directly related to the poets’ works.