With support from the Ministry of Culture, the "Taiwan Film Series: Political Violence, Historical Trauma (台灣電影系列：政治暴力・歷史創傷)" will take place online from Mar. 7 through 19, featuring two documentaries, one feature-length film, and one short that revolve around the theme of violence, trauma, and memories.
For the past three decades, filmmakers from Taiwan have been exploring political violence and historical trauma with new approaches, materials, and perspectives. The 2022 "Taiwan Film Series: Political Violence, Historical Trauma” opens with "Taiwan Black Movies (台灣黑電影)," a documentary about the excessive images of crime and lust in the noirish cult movies produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Are these black movies using crime and sex scenes to indict political violence across the Taiwan Straits—the Cultural Revolution and the White Terror—or are they turning violent acts into voyeuristic pleasure? "Letter #69 (第六十九信)" transcribes the prisoners' handwriting from family correspondence onto the screen as subtitles of the documentary. The collage of family memorabilia is as scattered as the political victims' tombstones in Liuzhangli, Taipei.
"Absent Without Leave (不即不離)" offers a look into state violence against Malayan communists. Directed by a Taiwan-based Malayan Chinese filmmaker, it allows us to compare authoritarianism in Taiwan and Malaysia. The film series will close with "Super Citizen Ko (超級大國民)," a classic about the White Terror, to explore the paradoxical sense of shame and guilt felt by the survivor of state violence.
The film series is collaboratively presented by the Taiwan Studies Arts & Culture Program at the University of Washington and the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, with the support of the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, Taiwan Cinema Tool Kit, MOC, the Taipei Representative Office in the United Kingdom, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle, and the Taiwanese American Professionals. The films are open to the U.S. and the UK only, click here for the detailed program.