Ranging from the latest hits to enduring classics, a delicious selection of 11 Taiwanese films will greet Slovakian audiences this fall from Sept. 6 through Oct. 18 at the Bratislava-based Kino Lumière.
"Taiwanese Season" will open on Sept. 6 with none other than "The Great Buddha +," the 2017 noir comedy hailed as a "ballad of sad losers mixed with satire on parochial politics [that] is convulsively funny yet uncompromisingly break" and "arguably the best film to emerge from a year of exciting resurgence in Taiwan" by Variety.
Wuxia, or martial arts, also comes to play in "The Swordsman of All Swordsmen," a 1968 philosophical journey that seeks to balance obsession with peace of mind; and in "A Touch of Zen," a 1971 masterpiece that is sublime in both its fight-scene cinematography and its portrayal of Zen.
Romance portrayed in a very unsettling, practical sense unravels in 1977's "Cloud of Romance," in which a torrid love triangle ends in tragedy; and in 2001's "Millennium Mambo," where a young but aging hostess struggles to break free of a stale, suffocating relationship.
Femme fatales with a twist ― both in the plot and character development ― take the center stage in "The Best Secret Agent," which is also known as "Secret Agent Heaven No. 1" and was billed as the first Taiwanese-language spy movie in 1963; and in "On the Society Files of Shanghai," a 1981 revenge flick that uses the female body and psyche to explore social justice.
A brand of humor unique to the Taiwanese people becomes apparent in "The Fantasy of the Deer Warrior," a 1961 political allegory filmed with live action stars in animal suits; and in "The Challenge of the Lady Ninja," a 1982 wuxia sexploitation film offering fast food-style fighting sequences and erotic elements.
Fragmented narratives and distortions in reality color "Eighteen," a 1993 tale of magical realism mirroring the aimlessness and broken dreams of modern Taiwanese society; and "The Assassin," auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien's 2015 painterly tale of Tang dynasty intrigue extolled as "a magnificient blend of fleet-footed action, dark magic, and emotional realism" by The Guardian.
“Taiwanese Season” is made possible with support from the Taiwan Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture's Taiwan Cinema Toolkit program, and the Taipei Representative Office, Bratislava.
The ongoing collaboration between the Taiwan Cinema Toolkit program and Slovakian film house Kino Lumière began last year when 2002 coming-of-age film "Blue Gate Crossing" was screened at the 2017 Slovak Queer Film Festival.