The Taipei Cultural Center in New York is partnering with the essential annual New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) to celebrate its 18th edition with a four-film selection that shines a bright light on Taiwan’s comedy cinema and genre output during the festival’s run from June 28 to July 14, plus audience Q&As following the shows.
Described by the NYAFF as “resolutely pop, accessible, and unapologetically fun in a way not normally associated with productions from the island better known for its art-house and experimental output,” this year’s Taiwan Cinema section will unlock the audiences’ imagination with heartfelt laughter and tears.
Highlight includes Huang Chao-liang’s Taipei Film Award-nominated HAN DAN, starring Cheng Jen-shuo (Gatao 2: Rise of the King); Hung Tzu-hsuan’s action genre circuit hit THE SCOUNDRELS; the madcap comedy based on the popular theater piece with the same title IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD SHOW; and the romantic tale SOMEONE IN THE CLOUDS, featuring a story of searching for the meaning of true love. Director Huang Chao-liang and co-director Mitch Lin and Gary Tseng will appear in person for HAN DAN and SOMEONE IN THE CLOUDS respectively to discuss their films.
As North America's leading festival of Asian cinema, the New York Asian Film Festival is presented by the New York Asian Film Foundation in collaboration with Film at Lincoln Center. This year’s Taiwan Cinema section takes place from June 30 through July 4 at FLC’s Walter Reade Theater and July 13 at SVA Theater, presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center in New York. For the full lineup and schedule, please visit nyaff.org/
Screening Schedule and Film Description
Han Dan (寒單) | North American Premiere
Sunday, June 30, 3:30 PM @ Film at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater
* Q&A with Director Huang Chao-liang
Taiwan | 2019 | 125 Minutes | In Mandarin, Taiwanese w/English subtitles
Director: Huang Chao-liang
An upstanding young man commits a reckless act that ends in life-changing tragedy. His doomed rival becomes his friend, only to become his rival again. Set against the tradition where men seek atonement by submitting themselves to ritualized firecracker attacks (as effigies of the deity Han Dan), this film not only reveals unique aspects of Taiwanese culture but its complex psyche as well. Featuring stunning cinematography and nuanced performances, Han Dan weaves universal themes into a novel, eye-opening moral tale.
The Scoundrels (狂徒) | North American Premiere
Monday, July 1, 6:00 PM @ Film at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater
Taiwan | 2018 | 104 Minutes | In Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Directors: Hung Tzu-hsuan
Promising basketball star Rui lost it all when he beat up a spectator in a fit of rage. Now he barely gets by working shady part-time jobs. One night while trying to help an injured woman, he is hijacked and framed for robbery. Inextricably entwined with the real culprit, and haunted by a public that thinks he’s to blame, Rui falls into a downward spiral of crime, treachery, and violence. Known for his intricately choreographed short films, Hung Tzu-Hsuan makes his electrifying feature debut with this taut, action-packed thriller, marking him a talent to watch.
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Show (瘋狂電視台瘋電影) | North American Premiere
Thursday, July 4, 12:30 PM @ Film at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater
Taiwan | 2019 | 103 Minutes | In Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Directors: Hsieh Nien-tsu
Mr. Lo, the unscrupulous owner of Crazy TV, sets out to lower the channel’s ratings so he can sell it to mobster Mr. David for cheap and count his losses. He promotes failing producer Yeh to program director, and fires the staff. Yeh, his best friend, an aspiring actress, and a team of interns create inventive DIY programs, from weird kiddie shows to offbeat celebrity homages. Surprisingly viewership grows, but Mr. Lo has something else up his sleeve. And then things get really crazy in this madcap farce, a glorious tribute to the spirit of creativity.
Someone in the Clouds (真愛神出來) | International Premiere
Saturday, July 13, 5:30 PM @ SVA Theater
* Q&A with Director Mitch Lin & Gary Tseng
Taiwan | 2018 | 100 Minutes | In Mandarin, Taiwanese w/ English subtitles
Directors: Mitch Lin and Gary Tseng
Hsiao-pei carries on her family’s fortune telling tradition, almost exclusively giving young women love advice. She also runs her college’s tarot club through which she meets the playfully cocky Chiung-nan, who uses the cards to ask her out. A hilariously rocky romance ensues, replete with a clumsy seduction, an unexpected fire and both figurative and literal ball busting. A host of characters around them add to the fray on their search for the meaning of true love in this hysterical upheaval of the romcom where things are not always as predictable as they may seem.