2022 Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season 14 will take place through April 10 in Chicago, Illinois. Seven films from Taiwan, including Increasing Echo (修行), You Have to Kill Me (我是自願讓他殺了我), Treat or Trick (詭扯), Grit (鱷魚), Jang-Gae: The Foreigner (醬狗), No Man is an Island (没有人該成為孤島), and Waiting for My Cup of Tea (一杯熱奶茶的等待), will be featured online and in-person at the Chicago Asian Pop-Up Cinema from April 4-10.
These movies also feature some of the best actors and actresses in Taiwan. Increasing Echo’s Chen Shiang-Chyi (陳湘琪) was nominated for Best Leading Actress at the 58th Golden Horse Awards (金馬獎), and Treat or Trick’s Liu Guan-Ting (劉冠廷) took home the award for Best Supporting Actor and the film also received six additional nominations. Moreover, one of the nominees for Best New Performer, Devin Pan (潘綱大), had a supporting role in Waiting for My Cup of Tea. In addition, Kai Ko, who was the leading actor in Grit, won the award for Best New Performer in 2011 and received two nominations for Best Actor in the 2016 and 2021 Golden Horse Awards. Kai Ko also received the 2022 APUC Bright Star Award, which is meant to honor outstanding Asian performers, for his transformative performance. Waiting for My Cup of Tea has been selected as the closing night movie for APUC season fourteen.
The full APUC lineup is representative of Taiwanese creators’ success in all genres of filmmaking, including mystery, romance, comedy, drama, realism, and documentary.
You Have to Kill Me, directed by Chan Chun-Hao (詹淳皓), is adapted from the best-seller of the same title by Taiwanese novelist Fong Shih (逢時). The fictional detective plot starts with an unusual scenario: the murderer is arrested at the beginning instead of the end of the story.
Waiting for My Cup of Tea was created, written, and directed by Phoebe Jan Fu-Hua (詹馥華). The romantic best-seller tells a story of love and friendship between strangers. Simon Lian (連晨翔), the leading actor, was particularly impressed by Devin Pan’s acting. “His performance was so astonishing and enticing that it evoked vivid emotions, even as he was delivering the lines," according to Lian in a news release for the film in November 2021.
Treat or Trick, directed by Hsu Fu-Hsiang (許富祥), is a comedy horror film. The movie is based on a Korean film titled “To Catch a Virgin Ghost (我們全村都不是人),” which came out in 2004. Along with a Golden Horse Award, it also won the grand jury prize for feature films at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival Awards (富川國際奇幻影展).
Chih-Wei Chang (張智瑋) directed Jang-Gae: The Foreigner, which was inspired by his own life experience. The drama discloses the identity dilemma of Taiwanese Koreans. “They look Chinese but they’re not Chinese, they have Taiwan passports but they’re not Taiwanese, they were born in South Korea but they’re not Korean,” as Chang stated in an interview with a local newspaper.
Increasing Echo, directed by Chienn Hsiang (錢翔), portrays the run-of-the-mill life of a middle-aged woman who is in a struggling relationship with her husband. She deals with ex-mistresses to keep her marriage alive, yet her husband has completely given up on making any kind of effort. It’s “a great film, a triumph of realism and cinematic precision, and one that fans of (European) art-house will definitely have a blast with,” as Panos Kotzathanas concluded in his review for Asian Movie Pulse.
Grit, directed by Chen Ta-Pu (陳大璞), is a romantic drama about a young gangster who re-enters society by working at a city councilor’s office after being released from prison. This lighthearted tale is about a reformed gangster attracted to an innocent landowner whose property is in danger of being expropriated.
Taiwan, an island nation of about 24 million people, has been extraordinarily successful in containing COVID-19. During the pandemic, No Man is an Island, directed by Jay Chen (陳鈺杰), documented the origin of the first “quarantine hotel” in Taiwan and its guests: the first batch of inbound travelers undergoing compulsory isolation for fourteen days. The film provides intimate insights into their difficult journey and their emotions while trying to conquer their fears.
2022 APUC season 14 Taiwanese cinema screening schedule:
🎥In-person screening at AMC River East 21 (322 E. Illinois Street)
Increasing Echo｜April 9｜1:30 pm
Treat or Trick｜April 9｜4:30 pm
Grit｜April 10 ｜1:30 pm
Waiting for My Cup of Tea｜April 10｜4:30 pm
🎥Online streaming at https://watch.eventive.org/apuc14
Jang-Gae: The Foreigner｜April 4-10
No Man is an Island｜April 4-10
You Have to Kill Me｜April 4-10
For more information, please visit: https://www.asianpopupcinema.org/
Photographs courtesy of Asian Pop-Up Cinema