Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s (侯孝賢) 1989 film A City of Sadness (悲情城市) was ranked 18th on BBC Culture’s list of the 100 greatest foreign-language films published on Tuesday.
Hou was not the only Taiwanese director whose works are on the list, which were based on scores derived from film choices by 209 cinema critics from 43 countries.
Edward Yang’s (楊德昌) Yi Yi (一一) was ranked No. 25 and A Brighter Summer Day (牯嶺街少年殺人事件) was 38th, while Eat Drink Man Woman (飲食男女) directed by Ang Lee (李安) placed 54th and his Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (臥虎藏龍) was 78th, the BBC Culture Web site showed.
A City of Sadness is set in the 1940s after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took control after Japanese colonial rule.
The “historical drama appears to be a chronicle of the misfortunes of the Lin family, but Hou used the Lins to put the dark history of Taiwan in the spotlight,” the Web site said.
“Mundane events experienced by the four Lin brothers illustrate the pain and struggles” of Taiwanese during the 228 Incident and subsequent White Terror era, it said.
The film won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the first from Taiwan to do so.
In August and September, BBC Culture invited the 209 critics to vote online for their favorite movies made primarily in a language other than English. Each critic was asked to list 10 films in order of preference.
The list comprised of 67 directors from 24 countries and 19 languages. French was the most common language, with 27 of the highest-rated films, followed by 12 in Chinese and 11 each in Italian and Japanese. Several languages were represented by just one film, such as Come and See (Belarusian), 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romanian) and Touki Bouki (Wolof, a language used in Senegal).
Other films in Chinese were Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s (王家衛) In the Mood for Love (花樣年華, No. 9), Chungking Express (重慶森林, No. 56) and Happy Together (春光乍洩, No. 71); Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s (張藝謀) To Live (活著, No. 41) and Raise the Red Lantern (大紅燈籠高高掛, No. 93); and Chinese director Chen Kaige’s (陳凱歌) Farewell My Concubine (霸王別姬, No. 12).
At the top of the list was Seven Samurai by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, which BBC Culture said is loved by critics everywhere, except for Japan.
The six Japanese critics who voted did not nominate a single Kurosawa film, going instead for films by Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi.
However, Kurosawa’s work won the vote of critics from elsewhere, with Rashomon (No. 4), Ikiru (No. 72) and Ran (No. 79) on the list.
Bicycle Thieves, directed by Vittorio de Sica of Italy, was second and Tokyo Story by Yasujiro Ozu was third.
BBC Culture said if there was anything disappointing about the list, it was the paucity of films directed or codirected by women, with just four making the cut, despite 45 percent of the critics being female.
“It’s clear that culture isn’t bound by borders, and language needn’t be a barrier to enjoying great filmmaking,” BBC Culture said.
“While the cinema of an individual nation is inevitably tied to its unique identity and history, the language of film is universal,” it said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn