Tue, Nov 06, 2001 - Page 11 News List

Year's best Chinese films for free

The best Chinese-language films of last year are unspooling this week only, some of them showing in Taiwan for the first time

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

This week offers a unique opportunity, thanks to the Taipei City Government and the Taiwan Film Center, to watch the best Chinese-language films released in the past year for free at two locations in Taipei.

The Best Chinese Cinema of the Year festival, which ends Friday, features 20 films from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, several of which received major awards at film festivals around the world. Beijing Bicycle (十七歲的單車) and Betelnut Beauty (愛你愛我), two of the festival's most anticipated films, made a sensation by winning three major awards at the beginning of the year at the Berlin Film Festival. Their sweep, along with another entrant titled The Cabbie (運轉手之戀) at the Berlin festival set the tone for Chinese-language cinema's preeminence at festivals throughout the year.

Hsiao Ya-chuan's (蕭雅全) Mirror Image (命帶追逐), which won first place at both the Taipei Film Festival and the Fukuoka Film Festival, will be another highlight of the festival, with its story of youth and love in the so-called "e" era.

Another stand-out film is Lanyu (藍宇) by Guan Jin-peng (關錦鵬). The film raised eyebrows with its forthright treatment of homosexuality in China, where until recently gays were dismissed by officials in Beijing as a "Western scourge." The festival also includes three exceptional documentaries; Ha Ha Shanghai (哈哈 ), West Island (西嶼坪) and Grandma's Hairpin (銀簪子). The latter film, which won the award for best documentary at the 2000 Golden Horse Film Festival (金馬槳), is a heart-wrenching look at the plight of Taiwan's veteran soldiers who retreated to the island with Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) in 1949. With most of the men approaching death, the veterans' hopes of re-taking China have been dashed and their lives dragged into prolonged tragic tales.

Making this festival special, aside from its unimpeachable admission price, is the fact that many of these films see little or no screen time in Taiwan, despite the fact that many were made by Taiwanese directors. Several of the films, including Beijing Bicycle, are also being screened in Taiwan for the first time.

The films will be screened at Changchun Theater, located at 172 Changchun Rd., Taipei (台北市長春路172) and the KMT Central Headquarters, located at 11 Chungshan S. Rd., Taipei (台北市中山南路11). Admission to all screenings is free.

Changchun Theater screenings

Today at 12pm, Blue August; 2:30pm Betelnut Beauty; 5pm The Cabbie; and 7:30 Mirror Image (English subtitles)

Tomorrow at 12pm Mirror Image (English subtitles); and 7:30 Betelnut Beauty

Thursday at 12pm The Cabbie; 2:30 Blue August; 5pm Lanyu; and 7:30pm Glass Tears (English subtitles)

Friday at 12pm Glass Tears (English subtitles); 2:30pm Betelnut Beauty (English subtitles); 5pm Glass Tears (English subtitles); 7:30 Beijing Bicycle (English subtitles)

KMT National Headquarters

Today at 10am Bundled; 12pm Xiao Shan Going Home; 2:30pm Ha Ha Shanghai; 5pm Go for Broke; 7:30pm Ge Ge

Tomorrow at 10am Grandma's Hairpin; 12pm Birdland (English subtitles), Fluffy Rhapsody; 2:30pm A Small Mirage (English subtitles) and West Island

Thursday at 2:30pm Grandma's Hairpin; 5pm Birdland (English subtitles); 7:30pm A Small Miracle (English subtitles) and West Island

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