Film from China directed by Clarence Fok (霍耀良) and featuring the Taiwanese duo Michelle Chen (陳妍希) and Kai Ko (柯震東), who came to prominence following the 2011 local hit You Are the Apple of My Eye (那些年,我們一起追的女孩). In Together, they are cast together with Hong Kong veterans Donnie Yen (甄子丹), who is taking a break from his stern kungfu master roles, and Angelababy (楊穎), in a lightweight romance that is driven by a more than usually absurd premise, not least that one of the characters, played by Yen, has a rare disease that makes him unable to smile, while another, played by Chen, has amnesia. Audiences may well want to forget why they bothered paying money to see this film.
Poor Folk (窮人。榴槤。麻藥。偷渡客) and Return to Burma (歸來的人)
These two films make up a double bill by director Midi Z (趙德胤). Although one is a feature film and the other a documentary, both deal with the harsh life of people living on the Thai/Burmese border, caught up in a complex web of drugs and people smuggling, hoping to find a new life in a better place. Midi Z’s career was kick started when he was selected as a protege of Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), whose style of detached observation he has adopted in telling these gritty tales of ordinary people whose lives and hopes are bound up with the ambitions of brutal gangs and the impersonal forces of international relations.
Based on Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho and adapted John J McLaughlin (author of Black Swan), Hitchcock stars Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and Scarlett Johansson. You could not really ask for better credentials than that, and the film does not disappoint, providing some fascinating insight into the Hollywood studio system and the way one of the world’s most recognized directors played it to get the film Psycho shot and screened even though it broke all the accepted rules of blockbuster production. The story follows the emotional rollercoaster between Hitchcock and his wife, and collaborator, Alma Reville during the making Psycho in 1959. Skilled storytelling, solid research and lovely performances make this film, so instructive about the mechanics of Hollywood, also great entertainment in its own right.
A thief with his own brand of ethics gets double-crossed by his crew and is left for dead. The thief, Parker, is played by Jason Statham. Is there any more to be said? Of course Parker is out for revenge, and there is the expected violence and the occasional cool one-liner from the Transporter star. Statham is playing a role he has played many times before, but this time he also gets to undress Jennifer Lopez, who provides the curves to complement the beefcake. The film does pretty much what it says on the box but nothing more.
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Scott Saulters wasn’t sure if his film had just taken one of the two top prizes at a recent film competition. Although Saulters has been in Taiwan for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, the award ceremony for the inaugural “Bi Tian Iann” (眯電影) short film contest was conducted entirely in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), a language he can’t speak. “I thought I heard it, but I didn’t want to look too excited,” he says. Despite his limited command of the tongue, Saulter’s entry, Wu Yu Tzu (烏魚子, mullet roe), took first place in the amateur category of the
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at