With many upcoming free screenings and festivals completely booked out, cinema buffs need not despair. There are still a few options available at no cost, but those interested better get moving quickly. The Taipei Limitless Film Festival (台北無限影展), which features pieces about people with physical and mental disabilities, had sold out as of yesterday afternoon.
While there are no tickets left for the New Taipei City International Documentary Festival’s month-long online program, it has made available until Tuesday a selection of 11 previous winners of the New Taipei City Documentary Awards -- and the best part is that they’ve added a discussion with the director after each film.
The diverse program and relatively short running times make for a colorful and thought-provoking kaleidoscope of the less apparent aspects of Taiwanese society: Adju (歌舞的我們) refers to a Paiwan word that has in modern times become a term for indigenous LGBTQ people and explores queer indentity, Vespas, Typhoons and Diplomats (偉士牌、颱風、外交) looks at early expat bands in the 1980s and Glad Rags (酒與妹仔) features hostess club staff who try to overturn their profession’s negative image and fight for labor rights. For more information, visit www.ntpcdf.tw.
Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Cultural Affairs Department
The Taipei Women’s Center’s winter free screening program kicks off on Sunday with North Country, which tells the tale of the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit in the US. The program focuses heavily on LGBTQ and women’s rights issues, from surrogacy for lesbian parents in Illegal Mother (非法母親) to a little girl who is sent to live with her uncle and his transgender partner in Close-knit.
Those interested in human rights issues can also check out Sunday’s free screening of Me and My Condemned Son (我的兒子是死刑犯), which is part of National 228 Memorial Museum’s long-running Human Rights Film Festival. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s schedule has been greatly reduced, but staff say they’ll get back on track next year.
The documentary features three local inmates who were on death row — including MRT random killer Cheng Chieh (鄭捷). The three families deal with their sons’ condemnation differently — the first subject’s parents tried everything to save him, the second one’s mother found the death penalty appropriate, and Cheng’s parents fell somewhere in the middle.
Photo courtesy of atmovies.com
“When their son does something like that, what’s most excruciating for them is that the question [of why they did it] will probably never be answered,” Cheng’s lawyer Huang Chih-hao (黃致豪) says in the trailer. It’s not just the pain of what their child did, they become social pariahs themselves, as evidenced by what’s currently happening to the parents of the three young men who viciously beat a college student after a minor traffic scrape.
Even director Lee Chia-hua (李家驊) has drawn much public flak and verbal abuse for trying to portray these people beyond their crimes — someone told him once that if he liked death row inmates so much, he should take them home and care for them.
“But if we cannot sit down and calmly understand that death row inmates are human too, then we can never have a rational debate over capital punishment,” he says in an Taiwan International Documentary Festival interview.
Photo courtesy of National 228 Memorial Museum
Finally, if anime and cartoons are your thing, there are still quite a few tickets left to the month-long free festival at the Taoyuan Arts Cinema. Visit www.taoyuan.arts-cinema.com for more information.
What: Taipei Women’s Center’s Winter Cinema
When: Sunday to Dec 24
Where: Taipei Women’s Center (台北婦女館, 3F, 101, Bangka Blvd, Taipei City (台北市艋舺大道101號3樓)
On the Net: reurl.cc/EZDpY0
What: 228 Human Rights Film Festival: Me and my Condemned Son (我的兒子是死刑犯)
When: Sunday at 2pm
Where: National 228 Memorial Museum, 54, Nanhai Road, Taipei City (台北市南海路54號)
On the Net: bit.ly/3Fu9bke
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