Organized by the Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center, the 2019 Taiwan Arts Festival will kick off on Oct. 4 in Hong Kong with the moving image program "M+ Screenings: Restored Images from Taiwan." The screenings will be co-presented by M+, a West Kowloon Cultural District museum, bringing together cinematic classics and important documentaries.
"Raining in the Mountain" (1979), the opening film on Oct. 4, represents King Hu's position as a master of martial arts cinema. It is the first feature film restored by the Taiwan Film Institute, and the upcoming screening marks the highly anticipated Hong Kong premiere of the 40th anniversary restored edition of this martial arts classic.
The "M+ Screenings: Restored Images from Taiwan" program shall include five feature films, three shorts, and three newsreels. Spanning from silent films of the 1910s to a martial arts classic of the 1970s, the selected works — filmed in Mandarin and Taiwanese — are mostly part of the Taiwan Cinema Digital Restoration Project of the Taiwan Film Institute. Together, the works demonstrate the importance of film restoration in preserving cinema culture.
Among the classics being reintroduced are "The Husband's Secret" (1960), a Taiwanese-language film rarely screened in Hong Kong but deserves close attention for its pioneering filming techniques, and "Typhoon" (1962), an important legacy of Pan Lei, one of Taiwan's most important directors who worked in Hong Kong in the 1960s.
Also included in the Taiwan Film Institute's collection of restored works are silent film classics, very few copies of which still exist. Take, for example, "Love and Duty" (1931), which featured Shanghainese starlet Ruan Lingyu at the height of her fame, or "A Trip through China" (1916), a documentary shot by Russia-born American filmmaker Benjamin Brodsky and the earliest western film record of China. Taiwanese electronic musician Huang Kai-yu, better known as fish.the, will also provide a live score to accompany these two screenings.
For non-fiction films, the three shorts by Taiwanese director Richard Chen Yao-chi, who is known for his experimental approach and realistic aesthetics, hold epoch-making significance in the development of Taiwanese cinema. Shown together with Chen's documentaries, the newsreels from 1946 that were filmed at a time of social and political turbulence, are precious records for the history of Taiwan.
The opening ceremony on Oct. 4 will be attended by Doryun Chong, deputy director of M+; Li Cheuk-to, curator of Hong Kong film and media at M+; Wang Chun-chi, director of the Taiwan Film Institute; electronic musician Huang Kai-yu; Alison Friedman, acting performing arts and artistic director with the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority; Shih Chun, chief executive of the King Hu Arts and Cultural Foundation; and Linda Lu, acting director of the Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center. Special guests from Hong Kong's arts and culture community will also be present in support of this important collaboration between Taiwan and Hong Kong.
With the annual theme "Together Taiwan," the 2019 Taiwan Arts Festival will feature exciting events co-organized with Freespace at the West Kowloon Cultural District, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong International Photo Festival, and Microwave International New Media Arts Festival.