The Los Angeles Times spotlights filmmaker Arvin Chen and Taiwanese film.
A national cinema distinguishes itself by filmmakers and films, but also, of course, by its coherence around themes and fascinations. The cinema of Taiwan, with its own world-renowned auteurs and healthy spread of popular genres, offers a striking distinction that appears in many guises: the formulation of Taiwan as a locus of plurality, liminality, change, exchange, and other de-centering principles that construct the nation not so much as a place of foundations, but of negotiations. In part, this is certainly a response to Taiwan’s national history, which also informs the national imaginary: an experience of massive migrations and overlapping colonizations spanning many centuries, as well as economic shifts that have witnessed increasingly frenetic flows of capital and labor in recent years. Corresponding with paradigm shifts in scholarly thought about the reality and image of Taiwan in the world, this film series, featuring new and classic comedies, dramas, formally rigorous art films and historical epics, offers visions of a nation acting not only as an origin or a destination, but as a relay point or hub through which people, art, investment, technology and social change pass, undergoing creative adaptations and transformations. This vision in turn presents a rewarding insight into Taiwan’s image and self-image, and accounts for much of the beauty and dynamism of its cinematic output. We are pleased to offer this eclectic selection, magnifying all of these themes.
Curated by Robert Chi and Shannon Kelley. This series is part of the "Spotlight Taiwan" program at the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, with financial support from the Taiwan Ministry of Culture.
Special thanks to: Susan Pertel Jain; Benjamin Chi—Taiwan Academy; Teresa Huang—Chinese Taipei Film Archive; Jennifer Jao; Ivy Chang—Taipei Film Commission; Enga Chang—Central Motion Picture Corporation.
Thanks to: Dennis Lo, Chang Chuti.