Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York is proud to announce its collaboration with BAM Cinématek to present Chung Mong-hong retrospective, a showcase of the independent Taiwanese auteur comprising his four feature films: Soul, Parking, Doctor, and The Fourth Portrait from Monday, November 30 through Wednesday, December 2.
In a commercial landscape dominated by romantic comedies and historical dramas, Chung’s body of work has emerged as a bold alternative, encompassing nonfiction, melodrama, and psychological horror. An increasingly regular presence on the international film festival circuit, but unjustly unknown in America, Chung’s films are darkly comic, strikingly stylish, and subtly surreal, offering an eccentric portrait of urban Taiwan that has led some critics to hail him as the successor to Taiwanese New Wave master Edward Yang.
Opening the series on November 30 is Chung’s latest film, Soul (2013), an official selection at Toronto International Film Festival 2013. Part blood-spattered shocker and part provocative meditation on reincarnation, this Lynchian mind-melter features “feverish, dreamlike, and unearthly” (Variety) shots of the stunning Taiwanese landscape. Other highlights include Parking (2008—Dec 1), a bizarre odyssey into the night world of Taipei starring Chang Chen (The Assassin, A Brighter Summer Day) and set to music by John Cage and Smog; Chung’s first feature Doctor (2006—Dec 2), a poignant documentary about two teenage boys whose lives and deaths are fascinatingly intertwined; and The Fourth Portrait (2010—Dec 2), a beguiling coming of-age tale which won Chung Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Horse for best director.
For series details, please visit http://www.bam.org/ChungMonghongSoul Monday, Nov 30 at 7:30 pm *Q&A with Chung Mong-hong.
A-Chun is a quiet thirty-year-old who works as a chef in a Japanese restaurant in Taiwan. One day, without apparent reason, he falls into a coma, and wakes up in a strange mental state. As if under a spell, he doesn’t respond to any external stimulus, and doesn’t speak or eat. He is taken back to the mountains, the place where his father lives and grows orchids. His father and sister are puzzled—until violence explodes within and around A-Chuan, setting off a series of unexpected events. A fascinating and chilling psychological thriller of demonic possession and the mysterious happenings surrounding it, Soul probes a father-son relationship shattered by a foreign presence and unspoken family secrets.
2013 Toronto International Film Festival
2013 Chicago International Film Festival
2013 Tokyo International Film Festival
2013 Golden Horse Awards, Best Sound Effects
2013 Taipei Film Awards, Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best MusicParkingTuesday, Dec 1 at 7:30 pm *Q&A with Chung Mong-hong.
On Mother’s Day, Chen Mo goes to a bakery to buy dessert for his wife, only to find his car blocked in by a double-parked car. As Chen searches for the car’s owner in the nearby apartment buildings, he comes across a variety of strangers and their secrets: a broken family of an old couple and a little girl (and absent parents), a retired gang leader turn barber, a Taiwanese pimp and his mainland Chinese prostitute girlfriend, a tailor form Hong Kong on the run. In fact, Chen and his wife are also stranger to each other, long wanting to have a child without success. In the span of an evening of chance encounters, communications and conflicts, the film paints a picture of the urban life and other characters. At the end of the adventure, he and his wife have a new hope, a child.
2008 Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard
2008 Vancouver International Film Festival
2008 Busan International Film Festival
2008 Golden Horse Awards, Best Art Direction award, FIPRESCI Prize
2009 Taipei Film Awards, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best New Talent awardsDoctorWednesday, Dec 2 at 7:00 pm
On US Independence Day, 1996, Taiwanese-American 13-year-old genius Felix posted a puzzling notice on his bedroom door. Three hours later, he had ended his own life. Devastated, his father, Dr. Wen, left Iowa City, his home of twenty years, and moved to Miami. Though the sunny, warm clime and passage of time have distanced him from the traumatic experience, his grief and perplexity linger. Six years after Felix’s death, a boy from Peru, Sebastian, comes to receive treatment for cancer from Dr. Wen. Through the stories of the two adolescents and Dr. Wen’s loving concern for them, the documentary portrays with touching compassion the transience, struggles, mysteriousness, and preciousness of life.
2008 MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight
2007 Visions du Reel International Film Festival
2006 Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Merit Prize for Asian Vision Competition
2006 Golden Horse Awards, nominated for Best Documentary
2006 Taipei Film Awards, Best Documentary AwardThe Fourth PortraitWednesday, Dec 2 at 9:30 pm
After his father’s death, 10-year-old Xiang is sent to live with his mother and a stepfather he barely knows. However, a lurking threat of unspoken violence surrounds him in his new home. Scorned and resented at home and lost in the world at large, Xiang turns to portraiture as a way of understanding the life unfurling around him. One night, Xiang dreams of his elder brother who went missing, his subconscious gradually bringing to light a startling secret revealed in his drawings. A sterling follow-up to his debut, Parking, Chung Mong-hong crafts a visually striking portrait of Taiwanese life, as well as a delicate hymn to the bonds of family and society.
2010 Locarno Film Festival, Official Competition
2010 Busan International Film Festival
2010 Tokyo International Film Festival
2010 Golden Horse Awards, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, The Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year, FIPRESCI Prize
2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, nominated for Best Children’s Feature Film