On the occasion of the 2019 Asiatica Film Festival, Taiwanese directors and video artists presented Taiwan as a county with a fascinating "flowering" of moving images at the MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Art (MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo) in Rome.
Taiwan has been for centuries one of the main cultural, geopolitical, and economic meeting points of the Far East. With three days of screenings from Sept. 6 to 8, the "Flowers of Taiwan" special program was a journey, a recon from cinema to video art. Protagonists of the festival were the works by Taiwanese directors and video artists in an emotional trip between amongst syncretism, identity, and tradition.
From the classics of Taiwanese contemporary cinema to movies by a new generation of filmmakers — including video artists born in the digital era such as Yin-ju Chen, Hsu Chia-wei, Tseng Yu-chin, and Jao Chia-en — the story of a country and its fascinating "flowering" of moving images blossomed at the Asiatica Film Festival.
The opening act of "Flowers of Taiwan" featured none other than auteur Tsai Ming-liang, the internationally renowned director and a major figure in the second wave of the New Taiwanese Cinema movement.
In a conversation with MAXXI Artistic Director Hou Hanru and Asiatica Film Festival Artistic Director Italo Spinelli, Tsai talked about the phases of his career, the evolution of his artistic research, and his latest works.
Speaking as both artist and director, Tsai noted that he has increasingly challenged traditional film conventions, moving away from the classic narrative structure, and choosing instead to translate temporality into innovative artistic experiences.
He also claimed to have exhausted his desire to use cinema as a pure narrative tool, and now hopes to capture a sense of reality — a time and a truth that does not involve definitive answers.
The special program dedicated to Taiwanese cinema and video art at the 2019 Asiatica Film Festival was made possible with support from the Taiwan Film Institute and Taiwan Docs.