AAAFF: Unleashed Desires: Lost Films of Taiwan (April 4-25)

The Husband’s Secret (1960)
The Husband’s Secret (1960)

 

From 1955 to 1981, some 1200 films, known in Mandarin as Taiyupian, were produced in Taiwanese¾the first language of the country’s majority. Though wildly popular at first, Taiyupian received little of the official support given to films in Mandarin, the so-called “national language” imposed by the former martial-law regime, and were later dismissed as cheap, tacky, and faintly embarrassing. But after decades of neglect, ongoing preservation of the 200-odd surviving Taiyupian has uncovered a pop cinema of tremendous vitality and imagination-not to mention an often startling frankness-that rewrites the history of Taiwanese film.

The Austin Film Society teams up with the Austin Asian American Film Festival to present four recently-restored Taiyupian that demonstrate the dizzying range and invention of this fascinating genre.

This series is co-presented by Austin Asian American Film Festival and Austin Film Society. It was made possible by the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, Taiwan Ministry of Culture, and Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston.

THE FILMS:

The Fantasy of the Deer Warrior (1961)

Director: Chang Ying

Running Time: 87 min

A completely unique Taiwanese fantasy-fable-melodrama about the interactions between various animals in the forest. What makes this so unique is that the animals are played by actors dressed in rather inexpensive costumes. Oddly fascinating and involving.

Screening will be followed by a Skype Q&A with Dr. Ming-Yeh T. Rawnsley, founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Taiwan Studies and co-organizer of the touring retrospective “Taiwan’s Lost Commercial Cinema.

 

The Husband’s Secret (1960)

Director: Lin Tuan-chiu

Running Time: 102 min

Don’t let the singular title fool you—hubby has more than one secret to hide after his wife unwittingly reunites him with his now-destitute ex, shaking up their comfortably middle-class marriage.

 

The Bride Who Has Returned From Hell (1965)

Director: Hsin Chi

Running Time: 117 min

The spirit of Daphne du Maurier haunts this Gothic mystery, about a young woman who infiltrates a rich family to find her missing sister and discovers plenty of skeletons rattling around their closets.

Free Member Monday—free for all AFS members.

 

Dangerous Youth (1969)

Running Time: 94 min

A conniving Don Juan introduces a naïve girl to the neon sights and swingin’ sounds of urban nightlife, but he may have met his match on the less glamorous field of sexual politics.

Screening will be followed by a Skype Q&A with Dr. Chun-chi Wang, specialist in film and television critical theory and Executive Director of the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute.

Screening Dates:

  • The Fantasy of the Deer Warrior (Monday, April 4)
  • The Husband’s Secret (Monday, April 11)
  • The Bride Who Has Returned From Hell (Monday, April 18)
  • Dangerous Youth (Monday, April 25)

 

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