Taiwan-based Malaysian director Tsai Ming-liang(蔡明亮)’s latest feature, iconic auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien(侯孝賢)’s remastered classic as well as contemporary artist Hsu Che-Yu(許哲瑜)’s experimental film are all bound for 2020 New York Film Festival. Taipei Cultural Center in New York is delighted three Taiwanese masterworks are selected, including Tsia’s DAYS (日子, 2019) in the festival’s primary section Main Slate, Hou’s FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI (海上花, 1998) in Revivals, and Hsu’s SINGLE COPY(副本人, 2019) in Currents. Cinephiles can watch not only two features directed by two internationally-acclaimed filmmakers from Taiwan, but a 22-minute moving image work on a new and innovative form.
DAYS will be the fifth film by director Tsai Ming-liang in the festival, following YOUR FACE(你的臉) in 2018, STRAY DOGS(郊遊) in 2013, GOODBYE DRAGON INN(不散) in 2003 and WHAT TIME IS IT THERE(你那邊幾點) in 2001. The film recounts the everyday lives of a middle-class man and a poor boy who gives body massages. The festival states “DAYS will undoubtedly stand as one of Tsai’s best, sparest, and most intimate works.” Tsai says he feels deeply honored his new feature can be selected and has its American Premiere at this year’s New York Film Festival. DAYS already won the jury Teddy Award at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival this February, which honors films with LGBT themes.
22 years ago, FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI was already selected for the 36th New York Film Festival. Its return represents NYFF organizers’ longtime fondness for Hou Hsiao-hsien, who is also dubbed as “Taiwan’s greatest filmmaker” in an article in The New York Times this May. FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI portraits an opulent world of late-19th-century Chinese courtesans and their suitors. According to the festival’s description, the film is “a transfixing masterwork and an achingly, intoxicatingly sensuous landmark of ’90s world cinema.” As the leading figure of the Taiwanese New Wave and one of the most important and influential filmmakers in Taiwan, Hou, now 73, will be presented with a lifetime achievement honor at this year’s Golden Horse Awards “in recognition of his distinguished accomplishment in cinematic aesthetics and his dedication to passing on the heritage of cinematic arts.”
Hsu Che-Yu is a contemporary artist who primarily creates animations, videos and installations that explore the relationship between media and memories. SINGLE COPY, his latest work in collaboration with screenwriter Chen Wan-Yin, features Chang Chung-I(張忠義), a once-conjoined twin, whose separation surgery at age 3 was broadcast live on television in Taiwan in 1979. The twins became a sensation after the successful surgery; unfortunately, one of the twins, Chang Chung-Jen(張忠仁), suddenly died of a brain hemorrhage in 2019. In this video, Hsu is said to blend “real and fictive iterations,” by digitally scanning the surviving brother’s body, recreating moments from his life, and revisiting his small role in a 1997 film. SINGLE COPY, alongside other 3 short films, will be presented in Currents’ “Program 5: The Medium Is the Message.”
For more information, please visit the NYFF website: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2020/.