不见 | The Missing

The Missing

Two stories are intercut: In one, an old woman searches frantically for her missing grandson; in the other, a teenage boy’s grandfather disappears. Lee Kang-sheng’s The Missing is a sad and haunting film which builds very slowly to an obscure symbolic ending, making you want to watch it again right away in order to view it in a different light. While not quite living up to the standard of the best work of Lee’s esteemed mentor Tsai Ming-liang, The Missing is an admirable debut. The city of Taipei becomes an alienating dystopia in this minimalist directorial debut from Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng. A grandmother loses her grandson in a park and spends the remainder of the day searching for him. Meanwhile, a troubled teenager’s grandfather similarly disappears. The two searchers wander the city until, eventually, their paths cross. The Missing shared the New Currents award with the Iranian film Tiny Snowflakes at the 2003 Pusan International Film Festival.

Directed by Kang-sheng Lee | Starring : Yi-Ching Lu, Tien Miao, Chang Chea, Chun Shih, Shiang-chyi Chen | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Athens Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Flanders Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Ljubljana Film Festival, Nantes Film Festival, Bratislava Film Festival, Febio Film Festival

婼玛的十七岁 | When Ruoma Was Seventeen

When Ruoma Was Seventeen

This simple, yet engaging film tells the story of 17-year-old Ruoma, a member of the Xjani tribe, who are a racial minority in the Yunnan province of southern China. Ruoma has always lived a quiet, rural life, but dreams of a glamorous, cosmopolitan lifestyle way beyond her financial reach. When a photographer named Ming offers Ruoma the chance to make money as a model, she jumps at the opportunity, even if it is just posing in tribal wear for the amusement of tourists. Ruoma quickly falls in love with Ming and the notion that he may be her ticket out. Without any acting experience, Li Min is nonetheless stunning and natural in her portrayal of Ruoma. Made independently from China’s studio system, this film takes a subtle, yet compelling look at Xjani culture. An official Selection of 2004’s Philadelphia Film Festival, When Ruoma Was Seventeen is a fresh coming-of-age story from director Zhang Jiarue that features an interesting subject, and nuanced performances.

Directed by Jiarui Zhang | Starring : Li Min, Zhigang Yang, Shu Linyuan | Presented at Pusan Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Montréal Film Festival, San Jose Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, Flanders Film Festival

千禧曼波 | Millennium Mambo

Millenium Mambo

From one of the world’s greatest living directors and critically acclaimed as his finest film, Millennium Mambo is as stylish, hypnotic and mesmerizing as Wong Kar- Wai’s hit film, In the Mood for Live, which it clearly resembles in its evocative portrayal of an intense relationship and in its stylish direction powered by a thumping electric soundtrack. Winner of the Grand Prix Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Millennium Mambo is a strikingly beautiful film set in Taipei’s hot nightclub scene. The remarkable Shu Qi stars as Vicky, a lost soul who hangs out partying with her friends, smoking nonstop, and dancing and flirting. The youthful Vicky is torn between two men, Hao-Hao and Jack. She lives with Hao-Hao (Tuan Chun-hao), but he doesn’t seem to excite her anymore, so she starts seeing an older gangster, Jack (Jack Kao), although the depth of the relationship is left purposely ambiguous. Some degree of affinity between them begins to take shape: it may lead to a still closer relationship or a permanent friendship. Although Vicky wants to be a free spirit, she is battling demons that cast dark shadows over her somewhat meaningless existence. One of the world’s greatest filmmakers, Hou Hsiao-Hsien has made an innovative and daring film that is nothing short of mesmerising.

Directed by Hsiao-hsien Hou | Starring : Qi Shu, Jack Kao, Doze Niu, Chun-hao Tuan, Pauline Chan | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Ghent Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, Flanders Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival, London Film Festival, Bangkok Film Festival

爱你爱我 | Betelnut Beauty

Betelnut Beauty

In 21st Century Taipei, a restless city where young souls are set adrift, Feng and Fei-fei meet in a sudden summer afternoon thunderstorm. Feng, fresh out of the army, has just made a beeline for Taipei, eager to start a new life. Fei-fei has also recently turned a new page in her young life, having just run away from home. Fei-fei teams up with her friend, Yili, who works at a nightclub. They become “betelnut beauties” hawking their fare from a roadside stall of glass and neon. Betelnut, a legally sold chewing pepper that produces an effect not unlike marijuana, is a favorite among the working class men. Feng and Fei-fei quickly fall in love, two clueless souls clinging desperately to each other as they try to keep up with the punishing rush of city life.

Directed by Cheng-sheng Lin | Starring : Chen Chang, Angelica Lee, Leon Dai, Ming-chun Kao, Chen-Nan Tsai | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Jeonju Film Festival, Brisbane Film Festival, Vancouver Film Festival, Flanders Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Helsinki Film Festival

卧虎藏龙 | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

The fate of two women, both capable fighters, intertwine during the Ching Dynasty. One of them tries passionately to break free from the constraint society has placed upon her, even if it means giving up her aristocratic privileges for a life of crime and passion. The other, in her lifelong pursuit of justice and honor, only too late discovers the consequences of unfulfilled love. Their two destinies will lead them to a violent and astonishing showdown, in which each will make a surprising, climactic choice.

Directed by Ang Lee | Starring : Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang, Pei-pei Cheng | Presented at Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Reykjavik Film Festival, London Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Flanders Film Festival, Vienna Film Festival, Bergen Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival