We continue with our list of films you cannot miss at the 21st Taipei Film Festival, which will take place from June 27th until July 13th in Taipei, Taiwan.
Manta Ray by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
Thailand, France, China | 2018 – 106 minutes
Near a coastal village of Thailand, where thousands of Rohingya refugees have drowned, a local fisherman finds an injured man lying unconscious in the forest. He rescues the stranger, who does not speak a word, offers him his friendship, and names him Thongchai. But when the fisherman suddenly disappears at sea, Thongchai slowly begins to take over his friend’s life – his house, his job and his ex-wife. In January of 2009, six boatloads of Rohingya refugees were towed out and left to be stranded at sea by Thai authorities. In 2015, mass graves were discovered close to the southern Thai border, containing 30 bodies of Rohingya migrants with mysterious cause of death. Manta Ray, a film dedicated to these victims, explores issues of identity and displacement with a careful depiction of human being’s fragility and imperfection. (Taipei Film Festival’s Website)
June 29th | Saturday | Taipei Zhongshan Hall | 16:00 pm
July 2nd | Tuesday | Shin Kong Cinemas 1 | 14:30 pm
July 6th | Saturday | Shin Kong Cinemas 2 | 21:40 pm
Mio on the Shore by Nakagawa Ryutaro – Japan | 2019 – 96 minutes
Having lost her parents early, 20 years old Mio and her grandmother run a traditional inn in a countryside Japan. Mio comes to Tokyo to seek a new job after her grandmother fell ill, and she moves in to her late father’s best friend, Kyosuke’s public bath house. Although she begins to help him run his bath, it is scheduled to be demolished on redevelopment.
July 5th | Friday | Shin Kong Cinemas 2 | 22:10 pm
July 8th | Monday | Shin Kong Cinemas 2 | 19:20 pm
July 9th | Tuesday | Taipei Zhongshan Hall | 15:40 pm
Ohong Village by Lungyin Lim – Taiwan, Czech Republic | 2019 – 91 minutes
In a southwestern Taiwan oyster-farming village whose land keeps on subsiding, preparations for the King Boat Festival are proceeding. Shengji, an almost 30-year-old man, returns to his hometown he left several years ago. He assumes an air of superiority and behaves like a prosperous businessman in an ostentatious manner. While he disguises his fragile sense of self in front of his stubborn father, who has spent all his life raising oysters, his childhood friend is coveting his “financial success” and plans to make a fortune. The tide being receding, people in the small oyster-farming village are wearing masks that they are unable to take off. Ohong Village, a story of returning, reunion and reconnection, portrays people trapped between the stagnated urban world and their rural family they are estranged from.
July 8th | Monday | Taipei Zhongshan Hall | 19:20 pm
July 11th | Thursday | Spot Huashan Cinema A 1 | 17:40 pm
Present.Perfect. by Zhu Shengze – USA, Hong Kong | 2019 – 124 minutes
Live-streaming has exploded in China and become one of the most proﬁtable industries over the past several years. While it produces enormous revenues and numerous “Internet celebrities,” it also provides a popular gathering place for masses of Chinese netizens. Such digital hangouts become unprecedentedly crucial for those craving for social connection but shunned in real life because of their identity, disability and social-economic status. Present.Perfect. weaves together a diverse range of moments and occurrences ﬁlmed and broadcasted by little-known Chinese live-streaming anchors from various parts of China. What they cherish most in the streaming craze is not fame or fortune, but a companionship they could hardly seek in real life. Although this virtual community doesn’t exist physically, the shared emotions and feelings generated through virtual togetherness are real.
July 6th | Saturday | Shin Kong Cinemas 1 | 16:30 pm
July 10th | Wednesday | Shin Kong Cinemas 1 | 14:40 pm
July 11th | Thursday | Spot Huashan Cinema A 2 | 11:00 am
Stand By Me by Lai Meng-jie – Taiwan | 2019 – 104 minutes
To what extent would you be willing to do for the girl you love? Jiu Bing has been stuck in the friend zone with Bo He since he was twelve. Even though he tries everything to win her heart, he fails in crossing the line. When working as a part-time pacer, Jiu Bing meets Xia Tian. They later become internet celebrities by accident. After putting Bo He first for a long time, Jiu Bing gradually realizes what role he plays in Bo He’s life, and finally finds where his heart belongs.
July 5th | Friday | Taipei Zhongshan Hell | 19:30 pm
The Age of Awakening by Ke Chin-Yuan – Taiwan | 2018 – 108 minutes
This film re-examines major environmental movements and events in Taiwan from the 1980s to 2018, including the protest against LCY Chemical Corp in Hsinchu, anti-DuPont movement in Lukang, movement against the expansion of petrochemical industry, anti-nuclear and anti-air pollution protests. It is a compilation of over 30 years of documentary footage and of those who took part in the protests.
July 11th | Thursday | Spot Huashan Cinema A 1 | 12:00 pm
The Tree Remembers by Lau Kek Huat – Taiwan | 2019 – 88 minutes
“What the axe forgets, the trees remember.” The Tree Remembers presents the current situation in Malaysia where the racial policy is still practiced and the victims are forced to remain silent. This film re-examines the origin of racism in Malaysia and the taboo of racial riot in 1969.
June 30th | Shin Kong Cinemas 2 | 18:20 pm
July 11th | Thursday | Spot Huashan Cinema A 2 | 15:00 pm
Turning 18 by Ho Chao-ti – Taiwan | 2018 – 86 minutes
Two girls in the bloom of youth meet at a vocational training program but their lives move in completely different directions. They both grow up in broken homes. Pei searches for hope in love, while Chen struggles to avoid repeating her parents’ fate. As they approach the age of 18, the undercurrents of their lives surface, nearly overwhelming them. This is a story about abandon, but also about love and courage. Although the story comes from a remote area of Taiwan, it raises a universal question: how can an unloved life find the strength of her own?
July 10th | Wednesday | Spot Huashan Cinema A 1 | 17:20 pm
Wild Sparrow by Shih Li – Taiwan | 2019 – 94 minutes
Little Han lives in the mountains with his great-grandmother, Auntie Han-hsiao. In rainy days, Little Han sits in front of the fireplace listening to Auntie Han-hsiao’s colorful and mysterious tales. One day he sees an injured and dying sparrow. With sadness, he digs a small cave and buries it. Looking at the sparrows flying in the mountains, he hopes one day he can leave the mountains. However, when his mother Ali, who works in nightclubs, takes him to city to live with her, he has to face the endless quarrels and fights between Ali and his boyfriend, a man who exploits Ali’s body to make money. In Auntie Han-hsiao’s funeral, while the burnt ashes swirling in the wind, Little Han returns to Auntie Han-hsiao’s bedroom and curls himself up in the bed like the sparrow he has buried.
June 28th | Friday | Taipei Zhongshan Hall | 19:30 pm
July 6th | Saturday | Spot Huashan Cinema A 1 | 21:00 pm
Your Face by Tsai Ming-Liang – Taiwan | 2018 – 77 minutes
As I searched the streets of Taipei for faces to film, some verses began to appear in my mind.
I wrote them down:
“There is some light, there is a story.
Your face tells of the passage of time and places you have journeyed.
In your eyes, there is a tinge of confusion and sadness.
There is some light, there is a story.
Your face tells of love and the places it hides in.
In your eyes, there is a sparkle and some darkness.”
This is the meaning of the film.
July 9th | Tuesday | Spot Huashan Cinema A 1 | 13:00 pm
To see the first part of this list please follow the next link: PART 1