The Taipei Cultural Center, in collaboration with Anthology Film Archives, is pleased to present a series of films titled “The Film of Hsin Chi (辛奇)” from November 17 to November 30, streaming on Vimeo free of charge.
The series showcases five films directed by Hsin Chi from 1965 to 1969, including THE BRIDE WHO HAS RETURNED FROM HELL (地獄新娘), ENCOUNTER AT THE STATION (難忘的車站), FOOLISH BRIDE, NAIVE BRIDEGROOM ( 三八新娘憨子婿), DANGEROUS YOUTH (危險的青春), and THE RICE DUMPLING VENDORS (燒肉粽). These films incorporate elements of horror thrillers, family dramas, romantic comedies, and social critiques, reflecting the thematic diversity of cinema from the era.
According to the Taipei Cultural Center, the 1950s are known as the glory days for Taiwanese-dialect films (Taiyu Pian (臺語片)). An average of over 100 Taiwanese-dialect films were released in Taiwan every year, and the country was recognized by UNESCO as producing the third most films in that era, behind only Japan and India. In presenting these films, the Taipei Cultural Center and Anthology Film Archives hope to help rebuild the post-war cultural history of Taiwan.
Anthology Film Archives was founded in 1970 by Jonas Mekas, with a special focus on independent, experimental, and avant-garde cinema. Anthology Films Archives screens more than 900 programs annually and preserves more than 800 films. For more information, please visit the following website: http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/
Photos courtesy of the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI)
THE BRIDE WHO HAS RETURNED FROM HELL (地獄新娘)
1965, 117 min, 35mm-to-digital
BEI Sui-mi becomes the new tutor for the WANG family in a bid to secretly investigate the death of her sister. Meanwhile, she tries to mend the father-daughter relationship between her niece and Mr. WANG. After a series of hauntings occur in the house, Sui-mi discovers her sister’s diary and comes closer to the truth behind her death. Gradually, Sui-mi and Mr. WANG fall in love, but on the eve of their wedding, the killer appears. An adaptation of the Gothic romance “Mistress of Mellyn (米蘭夫人)”, THE BRIDE WHO HAS RETURNED FROM HELL is aesthetically expressionistic, and the creative mise-en-scène showcases the quality of Taiwanese-language productions. While integrating modern elements such as suspense and murder, the story reflects a feudal context. Though westernized at times, it remains traditional at heart, creating subtle but fascinating contradictions between the portrayal of modern women and the patriarchy which shadows them.
ENCOUNTER AT THE STATION (難忘的車站 )
1965, 112 min, 35mm-to-digital
Tshui-giok’s (翠玉) stepfather sells her to a club to pay off his debt. But when her boyfriend, Kok liong (國良), learns about it, he helps her escape and plans to marry her. However, Kok-liong’s mother disapproves and arranges for him to marry a wealthy girl. Years later, when Kok-liong and Tshui-giok meet again, their feelings are rekindled. ENCOUNTER AT THE STATION is adapted from CHIN Hsing-chi’s popular novel “Leng Nuan Jen Chien (冷暖人間),” though its wartime atmosphere and female protagonist’s personal struggles are removed to focus on the love triangle in order to depict a family melodrama. Told from an omniscient point of view, the film not only boasts a well-executed narrative, a gripping storyline, and strong emotions, but also reshapes its characters to adapt to its form of visual storytelling, placing it at the pinnacle of the Taiwanese-language family melodrama genre.
FOOLISH BRIDE, NAIVE BRIDEGROOM ( 三八新娘憨子婿)
1967, 101 min, 35mm-to-digital
“Bun-tik (文德)” is a naïve, dopey young man who is aggressively chased by the women in his town, all of whom are strangely enamored with him. He is closely guarded by his father, A-kau (阿狗), who throws water at the girls to discourage them from courting Bun-tik. Bun-tik is only interested in one girl, the intrepid and mischievous Kui-ki (桂枝), a modern woman in the context of 1960s Taiwan, when conservative family values and traditional beliefs governed much of societal activity. One day, Bun-tik’s father and Kui-ki’s mother meet to discuss the possibility of the two young lovers getting married, but discover that they themselves were lovers 30 years ago. Both feeling scorned and blaming each other for the past, they oppose the marriage. Disregarding their parents’ wishes and tradition in general, Kui-ki and Bun-tik decide to elope. Eventually, their parents come to forgive them and accept the union, opening the door once again to their own past as well.” –TAIWAN FILM FESTIVAL EDINBURGH (英國愛丁堡國際影展臺灣電影網)
DANGEROUS YOUTH (危險的青春)
1969, 95 min, 35mm-to-digital
Khue-guan (魁元), a deliveryman living in a cheap apartment, dreams of making it big one day. He happens upon a teenage runaway, Tsing-bi (晴美), and entices her to work at a nightclub to make money for him. Meanwhile, the nightclub hostess, Giok-sian (玉蟬), pays for Khue-guan’s company but has no emotional attachment to him. When Tsing-bi becomes pregnant with Khue-guan’s child, she asks him to marry her but is coldly rejected. Khue-guan proposes to Giok-sian only to be sneered at. Faced with a choice between love and money, Khue-guan must decide what he wants. Through the relationships between a prostitute, a pimp, and a procuress, the film presents a vision of capitalist society in moral decay.
THE RICE DUMPLING VENDORS ( 燒肉粽 )
1969, 84 min, 35mm-to-digital
Tsi-bing (志明) is living a wealthy and successful life. However, when he is manipulated by his mistress into believing that his wife is having an affair, he throws her out of the house. When his mistress vanishes with all his money, Tsi-bing is forced to relocate to a makeshift home with his three children, who take on various jobs such as selling rice dumplings to make ends meet. Will this unfortunate family be reunited one day? The story centers on a man who loses his social and economic status but manages to regain his place in his family through sacrifices, an experience usually assigned to the female protagonists of melodramas. Unlike the prevalent female-centric melodramas of the time, this male-centric narrative was recognized as part of a subgenre of Taiwanese-language melodrama. The depictions of a powerful male figure losing his status before eventually turning his fortunes around, and of a woman who is able to support herself after leaving home, represent the shifting attitudes of the late 1960s.