If you know where and when to look in Dublin you can find a film festival showing the finest cinema of almost any region or culture in the world. Frequently the where is the Irish Film Institute and coming soon for the when is this May, as this year the IFI will be hosting the inaugural Chinese-language Film Festival Ireland. Titled ‘Made in Taiwan‘, the festival will be showing some a range of acclaimed Chinese-language films, including the martial arts classic A Touch of Zen and what’s more, the festival will be highlighting the work of master filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien, as well as his longtime collaborator, screenwriter Chu Tien-Wen.
The festival will run from May 11th to 14th and will feature rarely-screened award-winning films by the internationally-acclaimed Taiwanese director, as well as an exclusive masterclass and a number of post-screening Q&A sessions. The masterclass, supported by Screen Training Ireland, will be led by Chinese-language cinema expert Professor Chris Berry of King’s College London.
Commenting on the festival’s slate, Programme Director Marie-Pierre Richard said, ‘Hou Hsiao-Hsien has been instrumental in bringing East Asian cinema to the world stage. His subjects are intimate and personal, but his films speak to a universal, timeless human experience. We are grateful he and Chu Tien-Wen have generously accepted our invitation to visit Ireland and launch this festival.’
Hou Hsiao-Hsien is regarded by many as the founding father of the 1980s Taiwanese New Wave movement, with films that are distinctly melancholic and impressionistic. in their melancholy, impressionistic, and passionately humanist style. Hou’s films have been collecting awards at major festivals such as Venice and Cannes for four decades now, with six of the director’s films being nominated for Cannes’ Palm D’Or, cementing his status as one of the world’s leading auteurs.
Commenting on the festival, Programme Director Marie-Pierre Richard said, ‘Hou Hsiao-Hsien has been instrumental in bringing East Asian cinema to the world stage. His subjects are intimate and personal, but his films speak to a universal, timeless human experience. We are grateful he and Chu Tien-Wen have generously accepted our invitation to visit Ireland and launch this festival.’
The festival opens on May 11th with a screening of Hou’s martial arts epic The Assassin (2015). Set in 9th-century China during the last years of the Tang Dynasty and filmed on location in Taiwan, Mongolia and the Chinese Province of Hubei, the film focuses on an assassin Nie Yinniang, tasked with killing corrupt officials by her master, Jiaxin. The film won the Best Director prize at Cannes, and was nominated for several international awards including the BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director and screenwriter.
The festival will feature rare screenings of three films spanning Hou’s career. Fuelled by memories from childhood, A Time To Live, A Time to Die, is both autobiographical and universal. The recently-restored The Boys from Fengkuei (1983), reflects on Hou’s youth, with gangs on the streets of southern port city Kaohsiung, while A City of Sadness, winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, is rooted in a haunting period of 20th century Taiwan history.
The festival will also present the Irish premieres of the films of other Taiwanese directors. Huang Hui-Chen’s documentary Small Talk (Best Documentary, Teddy Award, Berlinale 2017) and Midi Z’s The Road to Mandalay (Fedeora Award for Best Film, Venice Film Festival, 2016). A special screening has also been organised with the support of the Taiwan Film Institute of the remastered wuxia martial arts classic A Touch of Zen (1971), the first Chinese-language film to win at Cannes, plus a programme of six short animation films curated by Dr. Chi-Sui Wang, Executive Curator, KuanDu International Animation Festival (KDIAF) and presented in association with KDIAF and the Animation Department, Taipei National University of the Arts.
Tickets and more information about the Made in Taiwan festival are available now from the IFI and you can see the full schedule for the festival below.
THURSDAY MAY 11th (18.00): The Assassin
The screening of The Assassin will be followed by a Q&A moderated by John Maguire of the Sunday Business Post.
FRIDAY MAY 12th (18.00): A Time to Live, A Time to Die
The screening of A Time to Live, A Time to Die will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Tara Brady of The Irish Times.
FRIDAY MAY 12th (21.15): Small Talk
SATURDAY MAY 13th (12.00): Masterclass with Hou Hsiao-Hsien
SATURDAY MAY 13th (14.30): The Boys From Fengkuei
SATURDAY MAY 13th (18.00): The Road to Mandalay
SUNDAY MAY 14th (14.00): A Touch of Zen
The screening of A Touch of Zen will be introduced by Professor Chris Berry.
SUNDAY MAY 14th (17.30): A City of Sadness
The screening of A City of Sadness will be followed by a talk with Hou Hsaio-Hsien, Chu Tien-Wen, and Professor Chris Berry.